GOP Lawmaker Tries to Impeach Justices in Pennsylvania Gerrymandering Ruling
Feb 10 2018
On Jan. 22, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that threw out the current map of Congressional districts for being unconstitutionally gerrymandered.
The new map is the result of a January 22 order from Pennsylvania's Supreme Court, which invalidated the existing district boundaries as an illegal gerrymander by the Republican-controlled legislature.
Under the state Supreme Court's order, the General Assembly had until Friday to submit a proposal to the governor, who would then have until February 15 to approve it.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 14 states are considering legislation that would diminish the role or independence of the courts. DEMOCRATS TRYING TO BREAK GOP SUPER-MAJORITIESIn a Facetime interview with ABC11, Durham and Orange County Democrat Graig Meyer defended his party's decision to keep fighting for the new maps in court. If they are unable to do that, a four-judge majority on the court has ruled, the court will impose its own corrective plan.
But those factors should be subordinate to politically neutral criteria and the fact that "gerrymandering for unfair partisan political advantage" would violate the state Constitution.
The new Pennsylvania map could give Democrats a boost as they seek to take control of the U.S. House in the November election.
"They didn't answer some of the questions that I thought they would", Crompton said, explaining why lawmakers waited for the final opinion before drafting maps in earnest.
The justices said Tuesday that new election districts drawn by the special master, Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily, to remedy racial gerrymanders must be used in all upcoming elections, but temporarily blocked other districts in two counties that the special master drew to remedy alleged political gerrymanders. They want those districts in and around Charlotte and Raleigh returned to their shapes as originally drawn in 2011.
Any redrawing could have significant implications not only for the state but for national politics as well, as Democrats hope to chip away at a Republican majority in the U.S. House. In the event that it does, it said in its order that it would invite parties to the court case - likely including Turzai Scarnati, Wolf and others - to submit maps for the court's consideration.
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-3rd District, said the existing districts and the present way of doing things mean that politicians can choose their voters, instead of voters choosing their legislators.
"It is the first time that a state constitution has been used to strike down a map where [anti-gerrymandering language] is not explicit", Li said.
Legislative leaders tentatively plan to submit a plan to the governor, as soon as Friday, with an aim toward having the Legislature approve it early next week, said Drew Crompton, chief of staff for Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati.
"I think there are legitimate federal questions", he said.
"The ball is in our court", he said.
"Now, going forward when they redraw the map, when they redistrict in 2021, there are some clear guideposts that they will have to look to", he said.
Democratic candidates also received much higher margins of victory in their respective districts than their Republican counterparts. The court has ordered the legislature to redraw the 18 districts by this Friday, Feb. 9.
In accordance with the plain and expansive sweep of the words "free and equal", we view them as indicative of the framers' intent that all aspects of the electoral process, to the greatest degree possible, be kept open and unrestricted to the voters of our Commonwealth, and, also, conducted in a manner which guarantees, to the greatest degree possible, a voter's right to equal participation in the electoral process for the selection of his or her representatives in government.