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Lawmakers face deadline for producing new Congressional map

Lawmakers face deadline for producing new Congressional map

Pennsylvania lawmakers will not pass a new congressional map before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's deadline- which is today. By drawing congressional districts that significantly reduced Democrats' power relative to their numbers, the Republican-held legislature prevented Democratic voters from enjoying free and equal elections, the Court held.

NC Policy Watch, a news and commentary outlet under the NC Justice Center, released a article Tuesday claiming that since Republicans gained control of the General Assembly in 2011, there has been a broad and steady decline in open debate and fair process. If they are unable to do that, a four-judge majority on the court has ruled, the court will impose its own corrective plan. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, he noted, recently referred to such analysis in a Wisconsin case as "sociological gobbledygook".

Republican lawmakers may seek a delay of Friday's deadline. The high court, he said, did not address that. To do that they will need to compromise to reach decisions that benefit us. The denial means it's more likely the current congressional map will be used in this year's elections.

That could change this year, with redrawn districts that evenly distribute African-American voters - who generally vote Democratic - instead of packing them into a few districts.

Wolf said his office is ready to work with the General Assembly to get new maps approved.

Representative David Lewis, an architect of the state's legislative gerrymanders: "Here we go again", Lewis said.

Citizens across Pennsylvania - including an eighth grade class in Chester County - have since drawn up congressional maps "that complied very nicely with the court's order", Kuniholm said.

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GOP leaders leaving a Monday evening meeting said Senate debate would likely begin next week. Democrats are not taking that approach this time around.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre County, said that lawmakers from the Senate and House have not yet met to determine how or whether they will try to pass Congressional maps by Friday.

Lawmakers have also not had any conversation with the governor about what he would consider acceptable in a redrawn map. The court has ordered the legislature to redraw the 18 districts by this Friday, Feb. 9. For instance, in Pennsylvania, there are one million more Democrats than Republicans, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Corman said it's not obvious that the court will automatically OK a plan if it's passed by the Legislature and approved by the governor.

The Republican plea for help at the Supreme Court faced quite long odds. "We're not sure what they will do".

The state's highest court gave the Republican-controlled legislature until Friday to submit a proposed replacement to Wolf, who has until February 15 to approve the boundaries and submit the map to the court.

While Republicans have held a 13-5 advantage after each of the last three elections, their share of the total votes cast statewide in congressional races hasn't been as dominating. Bob Brady has announced he would not run for re-election.

WHAT IT MEANS: In this week's paper, the INDY has a story (from one of my intrepid interns) about the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' visit to Raleigh last week. Bob Brady, a Democrat from Philadelphia; Rep. Patrick Meehan, a Republican from Delaware County; Bill Shuster, a Republican from Bedford County; Lou Barletta, a Republican from Luzerne County; and Charlie Dent, a Republican from Lehigh County. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito denied an emergency petition by top Republicans to stay the state court's decision.

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Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, said that decision upholds the right of voters to fair representation in Pennsylvania.

"An election corrupted by extensive, sophisticated gerrymandering and partisan dilution of votes is not 'free and equal, '" wrote Justice Debra McCloskey Todd.

The maps deemed illegal by the state Supreme Court were put in place in 2012. "Because we have these new maps with better districts and because we have really energized candidates in a grassroots base, 2018 is looking to be the best year Democrats have had in quite a while", Meyer said. They maintained that margin in the two subsequent elections.

He could accept the proposal and signal to the court that he supports the proferred plan. Another portion traces Pennsylvania's history, at one point quoting a delegate to the 1873 Constitutional Convention.

The state House and Senate needs to enact H.B.

The full opinion upholds the court's January 22 order, which dictates a tight schedule to have a new map in place in time for the congressional primary elections upcoming in May.

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