Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Gov. Wolf, GOP Lawmakers Each Say 'It's Your Move' On Congressional Maps

Gov. Wolf, GOP Lawmakers Each Say 'It's Your Move' On Congressional Maps

Tom Wolf (D) rejected top Republicans' proposal for a new congressional map in his state Tuesday, saying the plan continued to be an unacceptable partisan gerrymander.

In a report last week to Mercer County Commissioners, the county's director of voter registrations and elections said his office's preparations for the 2018 elections are going on schedule, as long as Pennsylvania's congressional district map issue doesn't disrupt the May 15 primary.

Absent an agreement between Wolf and the Republican-controlled legislature, the court plans to draw new lines itself by Monday, with help from an independent redistricting expert. The map, drawn after the state Supreme Court ruled that the current map is unconstitutional, divides 17 municipalities statewide. But Corman says there's no time under the court's deadlines for Pennsylvania's Legislature to pass a new map. That backup opinion did not arrive until late Wednesday and by then the House and Senate had adjourned. The GOP says their map is constitutional and complies with the State Supreme Court.

"The Republican leadership would have been better off claiming that the dog ate their homework", said the statement signed by party leader David Landau; state Reps.

Under the existing map, Trump won 12 of the state's 18 congressional districts, Clinton, six.

Eric Holder, who chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and was attorney general under President Barack Obama, said the Republican's map "does practically nothing to fix" partisan gerrymandering.

Legal battles are playing out in several US states over partisan gerrymandering, the process by which district lines are manipulated to favor one party over another.

The state Supreme Court's January 21 decision in League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania garnered significant attention and has been incorporated into the national debate about the fairness of politicians drawing the lines of their own voting blocs. They could consider proposals by Wolf, state lawmakers and other parties to the gerrymandering case.

And while Republicans have argued that Pennsylvania has a natural geographic bias toward Republicans because Democrats cluster tightly in urban areas, Duchin's analysis found that the Republican map goes beyond that bias.

First elected back in 2010, Meehan the former Delaware County district attorney and U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania, had cruised to three successive re-election victories, routinely piling up 60 percent of the vote.

The court recently struck down the 2011 GOP-drawn map as an example of partisan gerrymandering.

They would join all of Lehigh and Northampton counties to round out the 15th District. Redoing Pennsylvania's Congressional district map in two weeks to the satisfaction of everyone is unrealistic.

"The governor has shown he wants to take the representatives of the people out of this process and allow four people in black robes to draw the maps", Corman said.

"There's not any standard in what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said, or anywhere in the federal government, any court ever, that says competitiveness is a standard", Corman said.

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