Pa. Supreme Court Expected To Act Soon On Redistricting Order

Posted February 21, 2018

The new map also has part of Cranberry Township in the 17 District, with Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley, Allegheny County. Thompson will run for re-election in the 15th District.

The court had directed the Legislature and governor to reach an agreement on a proposed redistricting plan by last Thursday. State GOP lawmakers are expected to challenge the map in federal court, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, the Democratic voters' maps substantially changed how northwestern Pennsylvania would look, connecting Erie County to rural counties east of it that now form much of the 5th District. The map was approved in a 4-3 decision, with four Democratic justices backing it and one Democratic justice siding with two Republicans against it.

Voting for the new map were Justices Christine Donohue, Kevin M. Dougherty, Debra McCloskey Todd and David N. Wecht.

The order called for congressional districts to be "composed of compact and contiguous territory; as almost equal in population as practicable; and which do not divide any county, city, incorporated town, borough, township, or ward, except where necessary to ensure equality of population".

Here in our area, Republican Tom Marino keeps Williamsport, and picks up places like Clinton and Wyoming Counties, but loses Pike and Wayne Counties. Bucks and Chester Counties also receive districts based largely on their boundaries.

"This is the map that many people think is natural for Pennsylvania, which is a 50-50 state, a classic battleground, but hasn't performed that way in terms of congressional elections for decades", he said by telephone. Bob Brady's 1st Congressional District.

And some open seats, like those currently held by the retiring Republicans Charlie Dent and Patrick Meehan, are now more likely to end up in Democratic hands, Mr. Wasserman said.

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But Democrats submitting their own plans have little interest in protecting Republican incumbents - and the court-appointed mapmakers might not care, either.

Subtract Indiana County and add Adams County, and the new 13th District is similar to the old 9th. The primary election in Pennsylvania will go ahead as planned on May 15, with the general election on November 6.

Republican legislators have promised to challenge the map unveiled Monday in federal court as a violation of the separation of powers.

A case being heard in the Supreme Court could effect the political landscape.

"Implementation of this map would create a constitutional crisis where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is usurping the authority of the Legislative and Executive branches", House Speaker Mike Turzai said in a statement.

The new map will not apply to the March 13 special election in the 18th Congressional District between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb for a seat left vacant by Republican Tim Murphy's resignation amid an abortion scandal.

Although this bill is an excellent first step toward separating politics and redistricting efforts, it fails to adequately remove the partisan divide, essentially granting the governor's party an automatic majority on the commission. At present, most of Lawrence County - except for its southern tier - is part of the 3rd District, along with all of Mercer, Crawford, Butler and Armstrong counties, and a portion of Erie County.

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