Pennsylvania High Court Picks New Map of US House Districts |
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s highest court on Wednesday broke a partisan deadlock over a new map of congressional districts by selecting boundaries that broadly adhere to the contours of current districts, even if the state loses a seat due low population growth.
Supreme Court of Democratic-majority state in 4-3 decision selected a map of 17 districts that had been proposed by a group of Democrat-aligned voters who filed a lawsuit last year seeking to implicate the court.
This is unlikely to create a big change in the makeup of the Congressional delegation, as the state loses a seatgoing from 18 to 17, to take into account relatively stagnant population growth in census results over the past decade, especially in white rural areas with a majority Republican representation.
He scored a few wins for the Republicans and a few wins for the Democrats on a map whose stated aim was to stick as closely as possible to the districts drawn by the High Court in 2018 to replace a six-year-old map it deemed unconstitutionally gerrymandered by Republicans. .
The new map provides eight Republican-leaning districts, six Democratic-leaning districts and three narrowly divided districts, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics and sports.
Nine of the districts were won by Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, according to analysis by Redistricting & You, while Republican Donald Trump won eight. It also pits two Republican incumbents against each other.
Pennsylvania’s delegation is currently split evenly, nine Republicans and nine Democrats, in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 4 million to 3.4 million.
The court has already chosen limits twice in the last three decades, and its decision should be the final word, although a federal court challenge by Republicans is pending.
Democrats applauded the map.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who heads the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and whose affiliate organization the National Redistricting Action Fund backed the court-selected map, called it “a substantial victory for Pennsylvanians who can now vote for the candidate they choose in fair and legal neighborhoods for the next decade.
Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said he was happy with the decision.
“It’s a fair map that will result in a congressional delegation reflecting the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Wolf wrote.
The Republican response was critical.
Pennsylvania Republican National Committee Member Andrew Reilly said it’s unfortunate the court majority chose a map that combines two safe Republican districts into one, makes a suburban Pittsburgh seat more Democrat-friendly and was represented in part by the company of a “supporter”. Lawyer aligned with the Democratic Party.
“Despite this partisan choice, Republicans in Pennsylvania will be prepared to compete favorably in these districts to help the National Republican Campaign Committee retake the US House in November,” Reilly said in a statement.
The tribunal ended up making the decision after Wolf and the Republican-controlled legislature deadlocked over a new plan.
Four of the five Democrats on the court formed the majority in Wednesday’s decision, while one Democrat, Judge Debra Todd, sided with the two Republicans on the court in opposing it.
In choosing the new card, judges also overruled a lower court judge’s ruling recommendation of a map backed by Republican lawmakers which the Democrats had opposed.
The new map groups two Republican incumbents — Glenn Thompson and Fred Keller — in a sprawling Northern District and draws two Pittsburgh-area districts where no incumbent is running for another term.
Neither Thompson nor Keller immediately said whether they would run again.
Of the Republican-leaning districts on the map, one is held by a Democrat, Matt Cartwright, in northeastern Pennsylvania.
The rotating districts are held by Democrat Susan Wild of the Allentown area, Republican Brian Fitzpatrick of suburban Bucks County in Philadelphia, and Democrat from suburban Pittsburgh Conor Lamb, who is not running for re-election.
The card sides with Republicans on two big issues.
It keeps the city of Pittsburgh in one district, helping to maintain a competitive district for Republicans in its suburbs, and it keeps all of Bucks County in one district, helping to protect Fitzpatrick.
However, the map also sides with the Democrats on some aspects.
It ensures that each Democratic incumbent has their own district and keeps the Harrisburg metropolitan area in a single district with York, instead of dividing it into multiple districts, as Republicans wanted.
Still, the map will put more pressure on Wild to be re-elected, luring his new district to include conservative Carbon County.
The court also adjusted the petition collection schedule — from this Friday through March 15 — but left the May 17 primary date intact for congressional races and statewide contests.
However, the court on Wednesday suspended the primary election schedule for state legislative candidates as new maps of the state House and Senate districts are challenged in court.
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