Court unveils district map

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Republicans flatly refused to create a non-gerrymandered map, so the Pennsylvania Supreme Court created this one for them.

This is an argument Republicans already brought to the Supreme Court, which rejected it. Mr. McDonald said challengers could seek to make the same case before a sympathetic federal judge, which would buy them time.

The map that is under fire was drawn after the 2010 census, which resulted in winning extra Republican seats.

"Overall, Dems have a good chance in up to 11 CDs & an outside chance at a 12th seat in Erie", he said.

The new map means that Democrats can expect to compete in the majority of the 18 congressional races in November, with experts generally concurring that they could pick up more than ten seats.

State GOP leaders of the legislature have strenuously fought the effort of the state court to prepare new congressional election boundaries, and have apparently already made plans to mount a challenge to it based on the federal Constitution's assignment of the duty to redistrict congressional boundaries to state legislatures, with backup veto power only for Congress.

The divided court appears to have drawn its own map with the help of a Stanford University law professor, although some district designs are similar to proposals submitted to the court by Democrats. "My administration will work expeditiously to update Department of State systems and ensure all processes are in place to assist candidates for Congress."? State Rep. Steve Bloom (R-Cumberland) was running for the seat but has now been drawn out of it. Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries and candidate Andrew Lewis were both seeking the Republican nomination but they, too, have been drawn out.

Bloom, however, was drawn into the 13th Congressional District which is now held by Bill Shuster, who is also retiring. Bob Brady, Pat Meehan, Charlie Dent and Bill Shuster and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta's move to run for Senate. But the victor will have a short stay in the seat unless they move: the court's map puts both candidates' homes in districts with a Pittsburgh-area incumbent. The advantage that incumbents usually enjoy will be lessened by the new map because some Republican representatives will have many new and different constituents. "It looks more like a 9-to-9 division of the state".

WHYY reported that some observers believe the new map favors Democrats.

The question now is whether the map, issued in a 4-to-3 opinion that split along partisan lines, will hold. In a 5-2 decision last month, the state Supreme Court said the map "clearly, plainly and palpably" violated the state's Constitution.

But the majority of the court indicated they are confident they've come up with a plan that satisfactorily replaces the plan they'd deemed unconstitutional. In 2012, 2014 and 2016, they won 13 of the state's 18 congressional seats, even though the party only won about 50 percent of the popular vote.

Republicans are expected to challenge the decision from the Supreme Court, saying that only lawmakers and governors hold the authority to redraw congressional maps, rather than the courts.

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