by Nate White
On Feb. 5, the US Supreme Court denied to become involved in a Pennsylvania voting districts case. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. shut down a Republican request to delay the redrawing of new Pennsylvania district boundaries. Typically, the Supreme Court avoids cases that state courts are already viewing, especially when regarding the following of a state’s own constitution.
Democrats are pushing for the redrawing of the lines because they believe that the boundaries favor Republicans and violate Pennsylvania’s state constitution. In addition, Democrats want to have new maps drawn before the 2018 elections that are approaching, even though major changes are not usually made on election years. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court handled this case and ruled against the lines, claiming it breaks the constitution as well. The court banned the state’s current map and demanded a new one with fair boundaries by Feb. 15. Despite these rulings, the Republican dominated legislature which initially made the flawed map, continues to fight for the current map.
If the legislature can’t come together to pass a map by Friday and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf fails to approve the new regulated map by Feb. 15, the court claims it will create one with the advice of a few Democrats and Republicans.
Being a swing state, Pennsylvania has backed both political parties before. If the Republicans are incapable of proposing a fair and agreeable map, many experts predict the Republicans’ punishment would be losing as many as three of their 13 house seats. This would be huge for Democrats as they look to swing the political party power in the house. They need to gain around two dozen seats for majority, and this would be a large step in that direction for Democrats.
In Wisconsin, a map was drawn after the 2010 census that gave Republicans a wide majority of legislative seats, even though the Democrats won the popular vote. The Supreme Court even saw this case in which they ruled that the maps were unconstitutional. They required the redrawing of the maps prior to the 2018 election.
Make sure to see what’s next for Pennsylvania and its troublesome district boundaries.
(Sources: NYtimes, Washington Post, Post-Gazette).