HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The state Supreme Court held an all-day hearing in Harrisburg on Friday on a variety of congressional maps for the commonwealth.
As reported by political editor Jon Delano, the court has many options and more than one map at stake.
When the Republican legislature and the Democratic governor failed to reach an agreement on a new congressional map, the state Supreme Court had to approve new counties for Pennsylvania, a mandate they didn’t really get. would like.
“This is a failure,” said David Thornburgh, president of Draw the Lines, a civics project aimed at engaging nonpartisan congressional districts. “This is a failure of the process, of the relationship between the executive branch and the legislative branch. We knew this was coming. ”
“It’s a difficult task because it’s really a legislative function that didn’t happen due to the breakdown between the governor and the legislature,” said Tom King, Butler attorney representing Republican citizens. peace at the hearing added.
Repeatedly this decision is being forced on them, on Friday, seven Supreme Court justices heard lawyers argue orally about 13 different congressional maps.
The judges asked very specific questions about the maps, noted Cliff Levine, an attorney for Senate Democrats.
“The court was very attentive,” Levine said. “It is remarkable that we have suburban attorneys representing one of the parties handling many of these cases, who are truly commendable and amazed at the court’s extensive, in-depth knowledge of the law. interrogate and understand each map. and the stats behind the maps. “
While some maps are pro-Republican and others are Democratic, there are also maps that appear less partisan.
Another big issue: should the city of Pittsburgh be split to have two members of Congress or all in one district?
On behalf of the Republican map of citizens, King argued for keeping the city intact.
“Pittsburgh should not be divided. Splitting Pittsburgh violates Pennsylvania’s constitution. I hope that this map will not be a map that divides Pittsburgh,” said King.
“Actually, the division of Pittsburgh is natural due to rivers and geography, but it also gives voice. There are 150,000 people in one county, 150,000 people in another. It will still be the strongest voice in Allegheny County,” Levine said. “There are others trying to keep Pittsburgh intact and then essentially create a very strong Republican district. [nearby]. ”
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano Report
Deciding how to decide which of the thirteen maps to approve is a frequently asked and answered question.
Not just one map is at stake. Last Tuesday, candidates for governor, the U.S. Senate, Congress and the state assembly were supposed to be able to start circulating and filing nominations, but that was ruled out by the U.S. Court of Justice. adjournment.
Currently at risk: hold a preliminary on May 17.
“I really hope we can keep the official date. “We don’t need any more chaos and confusion than we already have in the process,” said Thornburgh.
While the failure of the Republican-controlled legislature and the Democratic governor to reach a compromise on the congressional map coupled with the Legislative Redistricting Committee’s delay in approving it, While approving new state Senate and House districts that could threaten the May 17 primary, the Supreme Court seems reluctant to do so.
“From the Chief Justice’s comment today, it looks like there will be a quick resolution to this situation, and at least based on the congressional map, I don’t think this election will be postponed. ”
King’s point was echoed by Levine. Levine predicts the court will uphold the May 17 preliminary hearing but will not allow nominations to circulate until mid-March.
Delano: “Listen, Cliff, is the court you read about not wanting to move the main date but will instead only allow a shorter time to circulate the petitions?”
Levine: “Yes. That seems to be where it’s going, leaving a day here or there.”
The court heard arguments Friday over 13 different congressional maps and in early March will hear legal challenges to the Senate and House maps approved by the Legislative Redistricting Committee. Browser.
Levine predicts that when we have the final court-approved congressional and General Assembly districts, candidates for all offices will have just two weeks to sign nominations.
“The schedule is very active, but they are working hard to get there,” says Levine.
If it sounds like a mess, it is. Hopefully we will know the court schedule soon.
Here’s another potential problem: if you vote by mail, it’s possible that the ballot won’t be completed and mailed until a few weeks before the election. Keep stable.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/02/18/pennsylvania-supreme-court-hearing-congressional-districts/ Spring’s main day at stake as state Supreme Court questions congressional district hearing – CBS Pittsburgh