Surprise: R leaders were working on a map after all

While appealing to one of their ideological allies on the US Supreme Court and making noises about trying to impeach the majority of PA Supreme Court justices for upholding the state constitution, Harrisburg R’s were designing a new congressional map on their own and came out with it hours before the Court was to take over the assignment.

See the proposed map below, from “GOP Releases Redrawn Maps” by Paul Engelkemier, PoliticsPA, 2/9/18. As you’ll see, it divides Chester County between districts 6 and 7, compared to the current division between 6, 7, and 16. District 6 would include parts of 3 counties (now 4), district 7 also parts of 3 (now 5), and district 16 parts of 2 (now 3):

Does the R map represent enough progress to serve as an interim arrangement until the next redistricting after the 2020 census? Governor Wolf, with expert advice, will either say Yes, or if he says No, the PA Supreme Court will take over. And in 2021, either the then majority in H’burg will try to work to its own advantage, or else the job will go to a citizen commission to ensure that objective, non-political principles are applied. In any case, let’s hope the days of gerrymandering our state are over for ever!

Underlying issue: How compact (the PA Supreme Court’s term) is compact enough? Ideally, a basically rectangular state would be divided in turn into rectangles or squares. Compare Iowa:

See also Amanda Holt’s Feb. 6 proposal (which for Chesco residents has the great merit of putting our whole county in one district):