by Daveda Gruber:
The state of Pennsylvania’s top court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ruled that Republican legislators unlawfully sought partisan advantage.
They said it was drawn to give Republicans a 13-5 majority, a ruling that could shift two or three seats to Democrats this fall.
On Monday they threw out the state’s congressional map. Republican legislators were given three weeks to rework it in a decision that could boost Democratic chances of retaking the U.S. House of Representatives.
The legal challenge was filed by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. They relied on the state Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution.
Two lawmakers said in a statement, “It is clear that with this ruling the court is attempting to bypass the Constitution and the legislative process and legislate themselves, directly from the bench.”
Attorney Stanton Jones said, “It’s well established that the United States Supreme Court does not review decisions of state force that exclusively construe state law.”
Lawyers for the plaintiff’s said, that the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the case.
Pennsylvania Constitution’s guarantees of free expression and equal protection. Max Baer, one Democratic justice, agreed with the court majority that the map is illegal. He said he would have delayed a new map until the 2020 election cycle.
The court said that the March special election for a vacant U.S. House seat in western Pennsylvania is not affected.
If the state court ruling stands and the map is redrawn, the consequences could be serious for Republicans. They are battling to maintain control of the House in the midterm elections this fall.
The U.S. Supreme Court is already weighing whether to set a legal standard for partisan gerrymandering in two cases. They are Wisconsin and Maryland.
By the end of June, a ruling is expected in both cases.
About two weeks ago, a panel of federal judges in North Carolina put out that state’s Republican-drawn map as illegally gerrymandered.
New lines were ordered drawn. This would be a potential boost to Democrats in U.S. House races in that state.
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked that ruling. A new electoral map in North Carolina is unlikely this year.
Congressional maps affect the electoral votes. Republicans had better keep up with any changes made. This will affect elections in the future.