GOP accuses justice of bias in bid to save 2011 election map

The plaintiffs in a racial gerrymandering case that challenged legislative maps at the state level filed a court document asking state judges to order new districts into effect in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where they accused lawmakers of violating the mid-decade redistricting ban.

Not exactly. They made the unusual move of appealing the state Supreme Court's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected the appeal.

Staffers for the Republican leaders had said earlier this week that Scarnati and Turzai were considering submitting something to the governor Friday and then bringing the House and Senate back to vote on it in the coming days. They are seeking, Berman wrote, "to transform the state's courts by gerrymandering judicial maps to elect more Republican judges, preventing [Democratic Gov.] Cooper from making key judicial appointments, and seeking to get rid of judicial elections altogether".

"I think now at this point, because the nation is really watching, I strongly believe there is no reason the [legislature] can not come to a bipartisan resolution that makes our congressional districts fair".

Messages left for both justices at their chambers were not immediately returned. The legislative boundaries for districts of lawmakers in the General Assembly are created by a bipartisan redistricting commission. "I think the most important thing is that people want their elections to be fair". The General Assembly appealed the resulting redistricting plan to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the state court's ruling because of the condensed timeline and the threat that if the Legislature fails to produce new maps on time, the state Supreme Court will produce its own. It's the latest turn in the years-long saga about the maps voters use to choose candidates - maps the courts decided were drawn by Republicans to dilute African-American voting power.

The opinion notes that the 2011 plan splits 28 of the state's 67 counties between more than one congressional district.

Select the newsletters you would like to subscribe to. But the opinion will be looked to in drawing future maps and for future lawsuits, so "they want to do their homework adequately", said Justin Levitt, a professor and associate dean at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

The map was not delivered as a bill passed by majorities of the House and Senate. Republicans have been enjoying the cushy advantage they manipulated for themselves with this map, and they'd rather toss out the judges that return to a more balanced map with competitive elections.

"This is all a part of President Obama and Eric Holder's efforts to sue Republican states while ignoring egregious blue states like Maryland and IL". The state court decision was upheld at the federal level.

Redrawing Congressional maps in two weeks does not seem to promote fairness to all parties involved.

The new map would have the infamous 7th Congressional district cut a swath through parts of Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties on a generally northeast to southwest axis. This means that even if we're lucky enough (and it will take a great deal of luck) to get a very fair map this year, the new maps drawn after the 2020 Census will again be drawn by the Pennsylvania legislature. It will be used for the May 15 primary but not for the March 13 special election to fill a vacant congressional seat in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Going further, senior staffers to the GOP leaders also suggested that if their new maps do in fact become THE lines for the 2018 campaign cycle, they will likely end their court fights.

  • Joanne Flowers