Court declines to immediately halt district map

Henrietta Strickland
March 1, 2018

There is also a state Republican appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to rule the map unconstitutional on the grounds that the State Supreme Court overstepped in authority in creating the map. A current bill in Alaska and a recent one that failed in Kansas would make state supreme court judges eligible for impeachment if they exercised legislative powers.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker: Under the new congressional map released by the state Supreme Court last week, Smucker's revamped district gets a deeper shade of red. That's according to court documents.

The U.S. Supreme Court had not made a decision on the request by press time Tuesday.

Congressional candidates in Pennsylvania are scheduled to start collecting signatures Tuesday to get their names on the primary ballot.

On Jan. 22, the court threw out the congressional district map, giving the GOP-controlled Legislature until February 9 to come up with a new one and Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, until February 15 to sign off on it. It's something we'll be watching very closely.

Their emergency request also argues the new congressional districts will cause confusion among voters, because some voters will now reside in new districts for the upcoming elections and the candidates don't have much time to decide if they want to file for candidacy.

This week's annual budget hearings are giving lawmakers a rare chance to publicly question Pennsylvania's Supreme Court justices.

When the justices drew the map, they considered where members of each party clustered across the state. The problem is, some candidates don't even know if they are circulating petitions in districts they will not be a part of once the Congressional boundaries are ultimately set when all court action is exhausted. In it, their lawyer, Jason Torchinsky, acknowledged that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court probably would deny their appeal "in short order".

Republicans have held a 13-5 majority in the state's congressional delegation since passing a 2011 map.

It could have been a showdown, but none of the four Democrats who voted for the new congressional map appeared.

In 1872, two New York Supreme Court justices faced the possibility of impeachment due to their connections to the corrupt Tweed Ring, George G. Barnard and Albert Cardozo.

Pennsylvania auditor general, Democrat Eugene DePasquale, says he will not run for Congress after spending several days considering a shot at a more competitive district in southcentral Pennsylvania.

While the court was correct to invalidate the gerrymandered map, it's mishandled virtually every other aspect of the case.

"I think that they're great in the sense that it's a response to really aggressive and regressive tactics by the Republican legislature to control the state and outcomes", Raeder said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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