Pennsylvania Supreme Court Leaves New Democrat-Favored State House Map in Place

Kerry Benninghoff

Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives were dealt an expected blow this week as the state Supreme Court unanimously declined to overturn a new state-House-district map.

Every ten years, Pennsylvania’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC) must redraw the state’s 203 state legislative districts and 50 state senatorial districts to cohere with new population data reported by the U.S. Census. The five-member LRC is composed of the respective Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate as well as a chair appointment by the state Supreme Court. In the latest round of redistricting, Democrats effectively controlled the LRC, as the majority of justices on the court selected fellow Democrat Mark A. Nordenberg. 

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Ruling Prompts Pennsylvania Senate Legislation to Limit Court’s Redistricting Power

Senator David G. Argall

One day after Wednesday’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision imposing a Democrat-favored congressional map, state Senator David Argall (R-Mahanoy City) is legislating to limit similar future rulings.

Argall, who chairs the Senate State Government Committee, has asked colleagues to cosponsor a measure disallowing any congressional-district plan ordered by a court to remain in effect after the election cycle for which it was enacted.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Picks Democrat-Favored Congressional Map

Democrats celebrated and Republicans demurred Wednesday after the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court selected the state’s new congressional map.

In so doing, the court overturned a decision earlier this month by Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia A. McCullough (R) to allow implementation of a redistricting plan passed by the GOP-led General Assembly but vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf (D). The initial version of the legislature-approved map was drawn by a private citizen, Amanda Holt of Lehigh County, though legislators modified her plan somewhat.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Considers Congressional Maps, Asked to Consider State-House Districts as Well

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, deliberating over oral arguments made last Friday, will soon decide the congressional-district boundaries that apply in next year’s elections.

State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) has meanwhile asked the court to strike down a newly enacted map containing districts for his own legislative chamber.

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Commonwealth Court Judge Chooses Citizen-Drawn Congressional Map Favored by GOP Legislature

Pennsylvania Capitol Building

Because Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor and GOP-controlled legislature couldn’t agree on a congressional redistricting plan, a Commonwealth Court judge has stepped in and chosen one favored by the latter.

Judge Patricia A. McCullough (R), who was charged individually with selecting a new congressional map from among several proposed by state officials and nongovernmental actors, issued a 228-page report explaining her decision.

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New Legislative Map that Aids Pennsylvania Democrats Is Finalized

Pennsylvania’s Legislative Redistricting Commission (LRC) on Friday finalized a new district map for state representatives that aids Democrats’ electability.

All three Democrats on the five-member LRC voted for the map, which is a modified version of a preliminary plan the same Democrats approved last month. Both Republicans voted against the plan.

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Gov. Wolf Vetoes Pennsylvania Congressional Map

On Thursday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed a proposed new congressional-district map passed by the Republican-run state legislature.

The governor’s decision effectively turns over the selection of a new map to the state judiciary. The Republican-run Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has indicated it would intervene if Wolf and lawmakers failed to agree on how the new districts will be reshaped. But even if that court chooses the reapportionment plan passed by the General Assembly, Wolf’s party may ultimately get its way by appealing to the Democrat-controlled state Supreme Court.

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New Congressional Map Passes Pennsylvania Senate; Wolf’s Veto Anticipated

A proposed congressional map passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives earlier this month passed the state Senate unchanged on Monday, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

In urging colleagues to approve the redistricting plan, Senate State Government Committee Majority Chairman David Argall (R-Mahanoy City) emphasized that the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has insisted on enactment of a new map by January 30. The court has indicated it will select a map if Gov. Tom Wolf (D) does not sign one by that date. 

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Pennsylvania Legislature Must Pass, and Governor Must Sign, Congressional Map Monday to Meet Department’s Deadline

Pennsylvania’s Republican-led state Senate and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) must approve a congressional map Monday in order to meet a deadline set by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Last summer, then-Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenried (D) announced that her department wanted new congressional districts enacted before January 24 so election officials and candidates may adequately prepare for the May 17, 2022 primaries. Lawmakers redesign districts every decade according to population changes reflected in U.S. Census data, whose release last year stalled several months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Population trends dictate that the Keystone State will lose one congressional district out of its present eighteen. 

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Opposition to Pennsylvania State House Map Getting Voluble, and Not Just Among Republicans

Pennsylvania Capitol Building

Across the Keystone State, more and more observers are raising concerns about the proposed district map for state representatives.

The redistricting plan, crafted by a majority-Democrat Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC), has received reproach for unduly advantaging Democratic candidates, lacking competitiveness and diluting minority-voter strength. The period during which the LRC is hearing public comments on the map continues until next Tuesday, Jan. 18.

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Pennsylvania House Republicans Pass a Mostly Citizen-Drawn Congressional Map

Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives yesterday passed a new congressional map, though without the support of any Democrats and with indications of disapproval from Gov. Tom Wolf (D). 

Two southeastern Republican representatives, Chris Quinn (Media) and Todd Stephens (Horsham) joined the Democrats in opposition. The plan must pass the GOP-led state Senate and receive the governor’s signature to go into effect this year.

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Pennsylvania Courts Deal Blows to Progressives on Election Review and Redistricting

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court green-lighted the state Senate Republicans’ election probe this week; the state Supreme Court has meanwhile declined to take up the remapping of congressional districts. 

As a result of the Commonwealth Court’s ruling, the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee may proceed with its subpoenas of voter records. The Supreme Court’s decision means Gov. Tom Wolf (D) will likely have to work out a compromise with the Republican state legislature on congressional reapportionment.

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