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| | |-+  PA Supreme Court strikes down PA legislative map.
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Author Topic: PA Supreme Court strikes down PA legislative map.  (Read 1784 times)
Keystone Phil
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« on: January 25, 2012, 05:23:21 pm »
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Just got a flood of texts. I know that the state legislative maps have been ruled against. No idea what's going on, if anything, with the Congressional map. Huge story and very surprising.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 05:37:27 pm »
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Word is that we keep the old maps for the next two years. Any scholars with insight?
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Torie
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 05:45:58 pm »
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Word is that we keep the old maps for the next two years. Any scholars with insight?

If by "old maps" you mean the ones drawn in 2001, how is that possible when the seats don't have equal population, and PA lost a seat (with respect to the CD's)?
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 05:59:25 pm »
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I'm talking about for the legislative seats. The Congressional map must be staying since it wasn't part of the breaking news stories.
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Torie
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 06:06:23 pm »
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I'm talking about for the legislative seats. The Congressional map must be staying since it wasn't part of the breaking news stories.


OK, but the legislative seats are still not equal in population, and in Baker v Carr, SCOTUS ruled that they must be.
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RBH
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 06:08:51 pm »
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Mississippi just held elections for the Legislature in seats that were drawn after the 2000 Census. No Supreme Court intervention there. Could happen in PA too
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 06:11:29 pm »
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Mississippi just held elections for the Legislature in seats that were drawn after the 2000 Census. No Supreme Court intervention there. Could happen in PA too

Yes, but that was before the Census kicked in I believe. They got in just under the wire because they have odd year elections for state races, rather than even year ones.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2012, 06:14:40 pm »
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Word is that we keep the old maps for the next two years. Any scholars with insight?

If by "old maps" you mean the ones drawn in 2001, how is that possible when the seats don't have equal population, and PA lost a seat (with respect to the CD's)?

The dissent (by 3 judges says):

"Although I am receptive to the concern that past decisions of the Court may suggest an
unnecessarily stringent approach to equalization of population as between voting
districts, I believe this could be addressed via prospective guidance from the Court."

So apparently the deciding issue was population equality.

The Constitution says:

"The Commonwealth shall be divided into fifty senatorial and two hundred three representative districts, which shall be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable. Each senatorial district shall elect one Senator, and each representative district one Representative. Unless absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming either a senatorial or representative district."

So the only constitution principles are equal in population as practicable, and no splitting of counties, cities, incorporated towns, borough, township, or wards, unless absolutely necessary.  These are of course in conflict -- it is practicable to have totally equal legislative districts, but it would be absolutely necessary to split all manner of governmental units to do so.

The order says an opinion will follow, but then goes on to say:

"The 2001 Legislative Reapportionment Plan, which this Court previously ordered
to “be used in all forthcoming elections to the General Assembly until the next
constitutionally mandated reapportionment shall be approved."

So it appears the court ruled the new plan which was intended to address population variation recognized by the 2010, did not do so sufficiently; therefore we will continue to use the 2000 plan because we are bound by our 2001 decision that says the 2000 plan is permanent until changed.

They also ordered filing for the elections to begin almost immediately so as to lock it in.

I bet you can get a federal court to overrule on equal protection grounds.
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RBH
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 06:23:13 pm »
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Mississippi just held elections for the Legislature in seats that were drawn after the 2000 Census. No Supreme Court intervention there. Could happen in PA too

Yes, but that was before the Census kicked in I believe. They got in just under the wire because they have odd year elections for state races, rather than even year ones.

nah, the data for making districts was known for quite awhile before November 2011, seeing as the leg tried to draw districts but failed to get the job done
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jimrtex
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 07:00:09 pm »
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I'm talking about for the legislative seats. The Congressional map must be staying since it wasn't part of the breaking news stories.

OK, but the legislative seats are still not equal in population, and in Baker v Carr, SCOTUS ruled that they must be.
The senate districts are within +/- 2.0%, perhaps just barely U shaped distribution which means they were probably just trying to patch the existing map by getting districts within the expected ranges.  To do it right, you really need to decompose the state into regions and apportion whole numbers of districts, and then repeat.

The current map based on 2010 population has an overall population deviation of 29.4%  (13.6% to -15.8%), only 7 of 50 districts are within the 2.0% deviation that all 50 districts have under the new plan.  The standard deviation is 7.7%, nearly 4 times as large as the maximum deviation.
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Torie
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 07:03:58 pm »
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Unless I am missing something, a federal court should toss this ruling. A state court cannot be bound by its prior decision if its reach given the current facts, makes it unconstitutional (the old map still being used after final and useable new census data is available). But can a state court be this dumb?  Or am I the dumbo here? Puzzling.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 07:24:47 pm by Torie »Logged

jimrtex
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 07:06:43 pm »
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Mississippi just held elections for the Legislature in seats that were drawn after the 2000 Census. No Supreme Court intervention there. Could happen in PA too

Mississippi holds legislative elections every 4 years, and they were told that they likely will have to hold new elections before the term is up.  And the legislature failed to pass maps.

In Pennsylvania, new maps were drawn which were tons better than the existing maps, but because they weren't "good enough" the old bad maps should continue to be used.

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krazen1211
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 07:31:02 pm »
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The GOP should have gone for stronger population equality and eliminated additional Democratic seats in the Pittsburgh metro.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 07:38:31 pm »
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Well, as a direct result of this, I'm going to be very busy this Spring and won't be here as much. You guys should be thrilled. Tongue
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BigSkyBob
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2012, 12:00:16 am »
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The GOP should have gone for stronger population equality and eliminated additional Democratic seats in the Pittsburgh metro.

I love it! The remedy for maps with underpopulated districts in Western Pennsylvania is keeping the old map with even more underpopulated Western districts.
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« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2012, 12:03:10 am »
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The GOP should have gone for stronger population equality and eliminated additional Democratic seats in the Pittsburgh metro.

I love it! The remedy for maps with underpopulated districts in Western Pennsylvania is keeping the old map with even more underpopulated Western districts.
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The real scandal in Washington is not the bribery, corruption, or sex. It is how poorly we are governed.
jimrtex
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2012, 03:37:25 pm »
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Word is that we keep the old maps for the next two years. Any scholars with insight?

Links to various briefs.

It appears that the issue is the number of political subdivisions that are split.

Oddly or not, the 2000 plan which of course is more out of balance population-wise, splits more political subdivisions.

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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2012, 04:53:31 pm »
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The Court still hasn't released its opinion and three of our Justices are on a retreat...in Puerto Rico. The opinion is expected next week - in the middle of petition season! - leaving us politicos hanging on the edge of our seats (no pun intended). No joke. Unbelievable.

So the two schools of thought: having the Specials and 2012 elections held in the 2001 districts is one belief. The other is that the Justices can tweak certain districts in the 2011 map (which I find ridiculous but who knows) and have the Specials and regular elections in the new districts. Not sure how they'll get that done in time though.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2012, 11:16:28 pm »
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What's the partisan composition of the Pennslyvania Supreme Court?  Does it have a reputation among Republicans as a liberal activist court like Florida's?
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Joe Republic
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2012, 11:31:16 pm »
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What's the partisan composition of the Pennslyvania Supreme Court?

4 Republicans, 3 Democrats.
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krazen1211
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2012, 11:40:53 pm »
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What's the partisan composition of the Pennslyvania Supreme Court?  Does it have a reputation among Republicans as a liberal activist court like Florida's?

You have it backwards. A liberal activist court that drew maps that better adhered to the criteria would be benefiting the Republican party. They could have been far more ruthless with the maps (at the expense of some of their own incumbents, but better for the party overall).

One could easily eliminate 2 SWPA seats rather than 1.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2012, 08:49:13 pm »
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Just got a flood of texts. I know that the state legislative maps have been ruled against. No idea what's going on, if anything, with the Congressional map. Huge story and very surprising.

Speaker Files Suit in Federal Court

Pennsylvania has some interesting constitutional provisions.  The Speaker of the House issues writs of election in case of vacancies, and under ordinary circumstances, must do so within 10 days.  But during the period of reapportionment, this is suspended.   In other words, it is intended that the new plan go in effect immediately, rather than beginning with elections for the next term.   So there are currently 6 vacancies stacked up, which either have to be held on an unconstitutional old map, an unlawful new map, or wait for a lawful new map some time in the indefinite future.

One of the justices in the majority when caught up to in Puerto Rico, said that every one should understood that 2012 elections would be held on the old map, and was surprised that there would be any fuss.

Another federal lawsuit.  This by Hispanic voters.

It appears that they may favor the plan drawn by the redistricting commission since it creates 4 Hispanic-majority districts, 2 in Philladelphia, 1 in Reading, 1 in Allentown.
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BigSkyBob
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« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2012, 02:03:23 am »
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Just got a flood of texts. I know that the state legislative maps have been ruled against. No idea what's going on, if anything, with the Congressional map. Huge story and very surprising.

Speaker Files Suit in Federal Court

Pennsylvania has some interesting constitutional provisions.  The Speaker of the House issues writs of election in case of vacancies, and under ordinary circumstances, must do so within 10 days.  But during the period of reapportionment, this is suspended.   In other words, it is intended that the new plan go in effect immediately, rather than beginning with elections for the next term.   So there are currently 6 vacancies stacked up, which either have to be held on an unconstitutional old map, an unlawful new map, or wait for a lawful new map some time in the indefinite future.

One of the justices in the majority when caught up to in Puerto Rico, said that every one should understood that 2012 elections would be held on the old map, and was surprised that there would be any fuss.

Another federal lawsuit.  This by Hispanic voters.

It appears that they may favor the plan drawn by the redistricting commission since it creates 4 Hispanic-majority districts, 2 in Philladelphia, 1 in Reading, 1 in Allentown.

What is stop him from receiving summary judgment? Neither the law concerning maximum variances, or the facts about the populations variances [greater than the maximum allowed] are subject to trial.

Maine tried to delay to 2014 and was judicially bitch-slapped.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2012, 08:52:55 am »
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The Supremes are clearly playing around now. We expected an opinion by yesterday. Still nothing. Let's see what the federal court has to say though. We're all waiting on pins and needles and while we are mostly circulating in the old districts here in Philly, others in other parts of the state are circulating in the old and thrown out new districts just to be safe.

I think most down here agree that delaying the primary (or having two!) isn't practical/likely.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2012, 04:11:02 pm »
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The Court has released its opinion and has outlined how certain districts (mine, for example) should have been drawn.

In what would be an absolute stunner, there is word that the primary could be moved to September.
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