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10 Febrero 2018, 10:39 | Crisanna Felipe
Democrats take map battle back to state court in bid to break GOP supermajority
Should the legislature fail to meet its deadline, the state court said it will redraw the map. Most observers bet that it will not happen by the deadline.
The governor says he plans to review it, and depending on his decision, new congressional districts could soon be set in Pennsylvania.
"The remedy of the court drawing their own maps is equally unconstitutional", said House Majority Whip Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County).
Republicans were elected to represent 13 congressional districts in the state, to only five for Democrats, despite there being 800,000 more registered Democrats in the state.
They will, indirectly at least, have a chance to have some input in the coming week through Democrat Wolf's office.
Any momentum will be amplified by fairer congressional districts, but it likely won't result in the Democrats getting the majority of the state's congressional seats.
He could submit a completely different map to the court.
Partisan gerrymandering has resulted in political gridlock.
A federal three-judge panel in 2017 decided state legislative district maps were racially biased and ordered them redrawn.
Wolf will then have until Thursday to tell the justices if he supports it.
Second, the court will need to ask whether it is looking for a "neutral" plan or a "fair" plan.
"It's decent map. It's good". The current map, drawn by the PA GOP majority in 2011, has been a subject of national ridicule for districts that were drawn in a way to clearly favor Republican candidates. But Justice Todd acknowledged that a map drawn to these neutral standards could still end up giving one party significantly more power than another.
One expert developed two algorithms and computer-generated 500 redistricting plans with each algorithm.
Costello won 57 percent of the vote in 2016, but Democrat Hillary Clinton outpaced President Donald Trump in the district. If this hodgepodge of Persily/NCGA districts holds up for November, Republicans would appear to be in a stronger position, which is why they're fighting the federal court so hard. So Philadelphia (and Pittsburgh) have an oversupply of votes for a Democrat - and Democratic votes are in an undersupply in other districts. The lawsuit contended that this was deliberate, an attempt by Republicans to pack as many Democratic voters as possible into the smallest number of districts, ensuring large numbers of "wasted" votes in each.
In this case, "neutral" redistricting would give Republicans about a one-seat advantage. "Indeed, for our form of government to operate as intended, each and every Pennsylvania voter must have the same free and equal opportunity to select his or her representatives". A "fair" plan probably would not. The first signs of this dynamic may have been the refusal by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider President Obama's final Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, during Obama's past year in office.
Those political factors, like protecting incumbents, have always been part of the redistricting process, no matter which party is in control, Dimino said.
"The Supreme Court is setting new ground", he said.
There have been several significant rulings recently in the continued fight over partisan gerrymandering in states around the country.
Bernard Grofman is the Jack W. Peltason Chair of Democracy Studies and professor of political science at the University of California at Irvine.
"This opinion is hugely important for demonstrating the power of state constitutions to protect voting rights when the federal courts won't under the federal constitution", he said, adding that 26 states' constitutions include "free and equal" or "free and open" elections clauses. The case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene on Monday was filed in state court and attorneys for the League of Women Voters argued they based their arguments on state law.
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