No, this is not deja vu. Nonetheless, it is still quite remarkable. About two weeks ago, I wrote an article about North Carolina’s attempts to ditch their congressional district maps. Now, Pennsylvania is doing the same thing. Both states allege that their maps dominantly favor the GOP. These state district maps make areas with more minorities less important than others. As a result, democratic candidates lose out. This egregious attempt to muzzle our constitution defies everything America represents. Republican politicians in states such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania have been using these GOP favored maps for years, which explains their decade long dictatorship. This is how republicans win in states that are predominantly democrats.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the state’s congressional map on Jan. 22. It ordered the GOP state legislature create a new map for the Democratic Governor to sign. The state Supreme Court also ruled that if they failed to agree upon a map, than the high court would draw up a new one.
Pennsylvania is so gerrymandered towards the right, that Republicans won 13 of the states 18 congressional districts in 2012, and have held those seats ever since. However, 2012 was the year democrats won the popular vote, ThinkProgress. How could democrats win the popular vote yet lose about 70% of the districts?
Yesterday breaking news was that Pennsylvania Senate President Joe Scarnati was defying the state court and refusing to redistrict the state maps. This Pennsylvania GOP politician understands that if the maps accurately reflect the state’s demographics then he won’t be re-elected. Hence, he is shoving his fat middle finger into Pennsylvania. Scarnati said,
In light of the unconstitutionality of the court’s orders and the court’s plain intent to usurp the General Assembly’s constitutionally delegated role of drafting Pennsylvania’s congressional district plan, Senator Scarnati will not be turning over any data identified in the court’s orders,” wrote Brian Paszamant, Scarnati’s attorney. CNN1
His defiance of a higher court makes it quite likely that he will be held in contempt.
My previous article was about how North Carolina state courts ruled that their district map gave a huge advantage to republicans. Although the majority of the state may be democratic, the map was designed to favor republicans. This is achieved by mapping out districts according to the demographics in that district.
Neither side argued this. In fact, the guy who actually made the map, representative David Lewis, said,
I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.” NYTimes
Republicans have no chance without gerrymandering and fake news. As gay marriage and legalization is infused into our culture, along with the boat loads of immigrants that come in every day, America is becoming more liberal. Unfortunately, all state legal skirmishes are settled in the predominantly republican Supreme Court. As a result, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked North Carolina’s attempt at representing their state populace accurately and ruled that North Carolina republicans need to make up a new map. This means that come next election, ignored North Carolinians will wonder if they should even vote at all.
The other week, Pennsylvania threw out the state’s congressional map as well, ruling the map violates their state’s constitution. Pennsylvania also demanded that the map be redrawn in three weeks. The League of Women Voters challenged the map in court, claiming the state’s congressional map was “among the most extreme partisan gerrymanders in American history.” CNN
It’ll be interesting to watch the Supreme Court try to stifle Pennsylvania redrawing their districts. They successfully silenced North Carolina. More states will undoubtedly follow. This should petrify republicans.