Tag Archives: PA Supreme Court

Sign the petition: Stop the Republican War on Voting. Fix Pennsylvania’s gerrymander.

Daily Kos, 2/9/18

Pennsylvania’s congressional district map is one of the most shameless gerrymanders in the country, and is a big reason why Republicans have a majority in Congress.

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court found it unconstitutional and has ordered the state legislature to submit a new map before the 2018 elections.

But Pennsylvania Republicans are refusing to listen. After the U.S. Supreme Court denied their appeal, they are now talking about impeaching the state Supreme Court.

Impeaching the state’s Supreme Court justices would require a supermajority of the state Senate, which Pennsylvania Republicans unfortunately have because … gerrymandering.

Sign the petition: Stop partisan Republican attacks voting rights. End Pennsylvania’s gerrymander.

Our Message to Pennsylvania state legislature :

Pennsylvania Republicans need to stop attacking voting rights. Instead of impeaching judges for doing their jobs, start doing your job and draw fair maps.

Pennsylvania Congressional Redraw

by Amanda Holt, 25 Jan 2018. [Amanda Holt was the hero of the redistricting controversy after the 2010 census, and in the first legal challenge the PA Supreme Court specifically cited her proposal as proof that the General Assembly could have done better to respect the PA constitution in redistricting the PA Senate and House. Now comes the next round: US Congress. Her proposal below puts all of Delaware County in district 7 but splits Chester County between the 6th (with all of Berks County) and 16th (with all of Lancaster County, thus fairly close to the current boundaries). Theoretically Chester County, which comprises about 5/7 of the population of one district, could be entirely in the 6th with a slice of Berks or Lancaster; but certainly being split between 2 districts is better than 3, and combining with one other county is better than with 3. If legislators say they don’t have time to complete their map by the Feb. 9 deadline, all the Court will need to do is refer them to the map that Amanda produced in a few days. The power of the motivated citizen!]

6 years ago today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the State Senate and House districts were unconstitutional based on the evidence presented in my case. Just 2 days ago, this same court declared another legislative map unconstitutional — the map configuring congressional districts.

The court order gives the main point of their decision: Section 16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (which protects county, municipal, and ward boundaries when forming districts) also applies to congressional districts.

What would it look like if a congressional map did not divide any municipalities? I asked myself this question and came up with the following answer.

These districts would afford equal representation through impartially drawn districts, unlike the ones currently in place.

keep reading Amanda Holt for explanation of the constitutional advantages of her proposal. For background search Amanda Holt in our site’s right sidebar and see especially “Allentown woman shows Harrisburg how to make a legislative map” by Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 2012.

WE WON THE GERRYMANDERING CASE!

from Willistown-Malvern Democrats

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the boundaries of our 18 congressional districts, saying they violate the state constitution and are unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans. This is a HUGE VICTORY to Democratic voters.

The Breakdown:

The Court strikes down the current district plan.
The Court states the March 13th special election for the 18th district (Democratic candidate Conor Lamb’s race) is unaffected.
The (Republican-controlled) Legislature has until February 9 to submit proposed new districts.
If the Legislature doesn’t submit a plan by that date or the plan isn’t approved by Governor Wolf, the Court will draw the districts based on the record, and it invites relevant parties to submit proposals by February 15th.
Definition of a district will be: “compact and contiguous territory; as nearly
equal in population as practicable; and which do not divide any county, city, incorporated town, borough, township, or ward, except where necessary to ensure equality of population.”
If necessary, the date for the primary will have to be readjusted.
See the full order HERE: Order GrantedJurisdiction Retained 10339890932033626

What does this mean for us?

The decision might delay when we have our petition signing events or change which candidates are running in our district. Our district may change altogether and there’s a chance the primary might be delayed. We need to pay attention to the timeline of events, as Chester County uses paper ballots that need to be printed well ahead of the election. There are many unknowns until the map is redrawn. Stay Tuned, the next date to watch for is Feb 9th. We will keep you informed.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE, this is a Democratic-controlled court. The next time someone tells you that voting for judges isn’t important – tell them about this. #VotingMatters.

“The order issued by the Supreme Court today found that the congressional map violates Pennsylvania’s constitution and has provided the methodology for new maps to be submitted and acted upon before the end of February. I want to thank and compliment the attorneys and parties who brought this before the Supreme Court and helped right this obvious wrong.” — Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Marcel L. Groen

Want to know more about Gerrymandering?

Attend a Fair Districts event. There are two events coming up soon.

Feb 4: Church of the Good Samaritan, 212 W Lancaster Ave., Paoli. 1:30-3PM.
Feb 25: Congregation Or Shalom, 835 Darby Paoli Rd., Berwyn. 10-11:30AM

Pennsylvania plaintiffs seek speedy replacement in congressional map case

Mark Scolforo (AP), The Morning Call (Allentown PA), 1/8/18

HARRISBURG — Registered Democratic voters suing to overturn Pennsylvania’s Republican-crafted map of congressional districts asked the state Supreme Court in a new filing to redraw the district borders if the Legislature and governor can’t do it within a two-week window.

The plaintiffs outlined their arguments in a 76-page brief filed Friday with the state Supreme Court, ahead of oral argument s planned for Jan. 17.

They suggested the court give lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf two weeks to redraw lines using nonpartisan criteria, then review the map with the help of a court-appointed special master to make additional changes. If that process does not work, they suggest the justices and the special master adopt their own map.

Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf face a Wednesday deadline to respond.

At stake in the case is whether the high court, with a 5-2 Democratic majority, will follow a recommendation made by a lower court judge about a week ago and reject the challengers’ argument that the map violates existing law by unfairly favoring Republicans.

The challengers argued that the state’s map of 18 congressional districts is among the most partisan in American history, saying it has proven to be “impervious to the will of voters.”

They said legislative Republicans “sought to predetermine the outcome of congressional elections for a decade” with the map, accusing them of retaliating against constitutionally protected political expression and association….

keep reading at The Morning Call