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Court's map leads way for reform

Court's map leads way for reform

But because the 2011 Republican-drawn map was skewed so strongly toward the GOP, the net result is that Republicans are likely to lose three or more seats in the state's House delegation.

Turzai said that in addition to the legal questions about the court's move to craft its own maps, Republicans also plan to raise the issue of whether Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice David Wecht should have recused himself from the case because he'd campaign for his seat on the bench by suggesting he'd crack down on gerrymandering.

Meantime, Mary Zimmerman, League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area president, noted the league's position was that the new map would be a step toward establishing a non-partisan commission. Meanwhile, the earlier order required the legislature to present a new map the governor by February 9, and to submit a mutually agreeable map to the court by February 15.

District 12 encompasses all of Beaver County and parts of Allegheny, Cambria, Lawrence, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.

"State judges can't usurp the legislature's authority over redistricting willy-nilly".

Either way, the Pennsylvania decision is a major boost for Democrats, whether two or three additional seats in a better-than-expected Republican year or a net gain of five or six seats in a blue-wave election.

The court said a new, less partisan map had to be drawn or the court would issue one itself. As of now, this is the version in effect statewide.

Now there is a March 13 special election in western Pennsylvania, with Democrats making a strong run in a seat where a scandal-ridden Republican resigned. The deadline had been February 27.

In a carefully worded portion of the document, the GOP legislators intimate that the four Justices in the majority in devising the new plan had run for office as Democratic candidates and drew up a plan with the specific aim of shifting seats to future Democratic candidates.

Democratic candidate Chrissy Houlahan emerged this week as a victor in the national fight over fair elections, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unveiled a new district map that includes big changes to previously Republican gerrymandered districts.

"I can't put it into words", defenseman Kacey Bellamy said.

Considered by the court perhaps most of all, Madonna said, was the partisanship of the 2011 map.

Jodun could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday. On Monday, the court voted 4-3 to approve a map it appeared to have drawn itself, with the help of a Stanford University professor.

Tom Wolf says he's not focusing on Republican legislative leaders' request that the U.S. Supreme Court block a new state congressional district map viewed as favorable to Democrats. Until then, he said Schuylkill remains vital to his work.

Ellwood City mayor Tony Court said he is optimistic about the new map. We also hear from Micah Sim, Executive Director of the good government group Common Cause Pennsylvania. It divides far fewer counties and municipalities, heeding physical and political geography and communities of interest.



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