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It Won't Be Easy as the GOP Hoped to Hijack Democracy in Pennsylvania

February 6, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

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Pennsylvania's Supreme Court wants new U.S. House maps well before May 15's primary elections.

The Democrats' chances of regaining a House majority received a boost Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling ordering its legislature to immediately revise its congressional map for 2018 elections—or else the state high court would.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito declined, without comment, a request by Pennsylvania Republicans to freeze a January 22 order that threw out the House districts created by the GOP-majority legislature in 2011, following the last Census.

While the state’s voters are split between the two major parties—as seen in 2016’s presidential election where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 44,000 votes—the Republicans' extreme gerrymander gave them 13 House seats compared to 5 for Democrats.

The Democrats need to pick up 24 additional seats in November to regain a House majority.

The redistricting fight in Pennsylvania is a microcosm of the anything-goes tactics the GOP will employ to take and hold power. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order to redraw the maps set a February 9 deadline—this Friday—to submit new congressional maps, as well as a deadline last week to submit additional data concerns over how the new districts will be drawn.

Needless to say, the state’s top-ranking Republicans did not meet last week’s state Supreme Court deadline. Instead, they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and then launched a smear campaign to undermine their state Supreme Court’s credibility and redistricting ruling.

Pennsylvania’s high court is composed of elected judges, Democrats and Republicans alike. Its state senate president, Republican Joe Scarnati, said a Democratic justice who voted to overturn the GOP’s 2011 maps had criticized gerrymandering while campaigning—which Scarnati claimed should have disqualified him from the case.

What since has …read more


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