Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Costello: 'Surprised' by court decision on congressional map

Court Rulings End GOP Efforts to Block Voting Map for Pennsylvania The Supreme Court Rejects The GOP's Bid To Keep Gerrymandered Congressional Voting Maps For The 2018 Election
Andrew Cummings | 21 March, 2018, 08:02

On Monday, Alito, a Republican, who was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush, shot down a request by GOP legislative leaders in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to stay a new congressional map set to take effect for the spring primary and this November's general election. The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania told USA Today it was "déjà vu all over again" with arguments that "have not improved with age". That request, though confined to the issue of a temporary delay, relied upon the claim that the state court had violated the Elections Clause in the two ways the GOP lawmakers had said, so the use of the state court map should be barred for the time being pending an appeal.

The state Supreme Court, when it released the redrawn map last month, said the new districts should be more compact, contiguous, contain roughly the same number of people and not split counties unnecessarily.

It is time for all state lawmakers of integrity, honor, and principle, Republicans and Democrats alike, to insist that their leadership bring to a vote the bills (HB 722 & SB 22) providing for first session approval of the constitutional change needed to finally remove the politicians and political parties from both the congressional and state legislative redistricting process.

The court's order Monday declining to put on hold the revised map comes as incumbents and potential challengers are circulating petitions to get on the May primary ballot. Yes, there are some variables (like a majority-Democrat Supreme Court, with one member who was openly hostile to gerrymandering during his campaign for the appellate bench.).

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Republicans have been fighting the new map because they believe it was created by partisan judges. The state is projected to lose one congressional seat in that remapping. That includes seats now held Rep. Charlie Dent and Rep. The district court case is Corman v Torres, 18-cv-443, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg). U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello's seat is also considered much more competitive under the new plan. Under the new map, Cameron, Elk and McKean counties are in the 15th District, but Potter County is pushed into the 12th District. "It is disappointing that the U.S. Supreme Court did not intervene".

Douglas Keith, counsel at the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, which filed a friend of the court brief supporting voters who had challenged the old map, said it was "remarkable" so many legislators were backing the impeachment effort.

In their decision the judges - Circuit Judge Kent Jordan, District Judge Christopher Conner, and District Judge Jerome Simandle - said the plaintiffs didn't have standing to make the appeal so they declined to even consider the merits of their complaint.

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