Early in January, in a heated battle between Republicans and Democrats in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order demanding data used to draw lines for the Congressional district. According to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania:
‘The Court’s January 22 order deprives Legislative respondents of the ability to draft the court-ordered alternate map because it provides no explanation as to how the 2011 Plan violates the Pennsylvania Constitution or what the General Assembly must do to fashion a map that complies with Pennsylvania’s Constitution. Put simply, the January 22 Order renders it untenable for the General Assembly to formulate and pass an alternate map within the timeframe established by the court, thus divesting the General Assembly of any meaningful opportunity to draft a new map compliant in the Court’s eyes. This, in turn, makes it highly likely that the Court, not the General Assembly, will ultimately draft an alternate map.’
Joe Scarnati, the Republican leader of the Pennsylvania State Senate, refused to cooperate with the order to turn over data on Wednesday. Democrats say the Congressional district lines are illegally gerrymandered.
Scarnati’s lawyers wrote a letter, saying:
‘In light of the unconstitutionality of the Court’s Orders and the Court’s plain intent to usurp the General Assembly’s constitutionally delegated role of drafting Pennsylvania’s congressional districting plan, Sen. Scarnati will not be turning over any data identified in the Court’s Orders.’
According to The Associated Press:
‘Pennsylvania’s top Republican lawmakers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop an order by the state’s highest court throwing out the boundaries of its 18 congressional districts in a gerrymandering case.
‘Thursday’s filing by the Legislature’s Republican leaders says the state Supreme Court justices unconstitutionally usurped the authority of lawmakers to create congressional districts.
‘It asked the nation’s high court to put the state court’s decision on hold while it considers their claims.’
There is a large string of gerrymandering case brewing in other states as well including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
According to POLITICO:
‘Republicans are launching a new redistricting group with plans to fight more Democratic-drawn political maps in court, part of an expanded strategy to influence congressional and state legislative boundaries after the next census.
‘The organization, called the National Republican Redistricting Trust, will focus on data and legal efforts and “serve as a central resource to coordinate and collaborate” on redistricting for other party organizations and members, according to a memo announcing its formation.’
Democrats have launched their own redistricting group, The National Democratic Redistricting Committee. POLITICO reports:
‘Republicans were in charge of the redistricting process in more states after the 2010 census, and Democrats have since sued to overturn GOP-drawn maps in Texas, Virginia and other states, arguing that the maps were racially gerrymandered to dilute minority voting power.’
According to POLITICO:
‘Both parties are already determined to elect governors and state legislators who will have a hand in drawing future political maps, but they are also preparing behind the scenes for an array of state-by-state legal fights over redistricting in the years to come.’
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