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Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopts Democratic-friendly map for 2018 elections

Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopts Democratic-friendly map for 2018 elections

Republicans may have just lost 4-5 House seats in 2018 midterms without a single voter casting a ballot.

http://www.wtae.com/article/pennsylvania-supreme-court-issues-new-congressional-district-map/18238727?src=app

Republicans probably just lost at least 4 or 5 seats in the House.

This afternoon, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unveiled its remedial Congressional map for the midterm elections in November. [See Featured Image] The Supreme Court Order imposing the map is here.

According to NYT data expert Nate Cohn, the new districts are arguably more advantageous to Democrats than the ones Democratic lawmakers themselves proposed a week ago. The map was actually drawn by Nathan Persily, a Stanford professor who is frequently retained by courts to “remedy” alleged gerrymandering.

Recall that on January 22, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled—on a party-line vote—that the districts adopted by the legislature in 2011 intentionally “diluted” the votes of Democrats, in violation of the state constitution’s guarantee of “free and equal” elections.  The court commissioned a new map, ordering that districts be “compact and contiguous” and avoid dividing localities. The Republican legislature was given three weeks to devise such a map and get the Democratic governor to sign off on it. If no agreement was reached, the court promised that it would adopt its own map by February 19.

The state Speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. It declined to do so, with Justice Alito turning down a stay application without comment or referring it to the full court.

Chastened, the Republicans in the state legislature proposed new districts, and even though no one denied that their map conformed to the court’s neutral geographic indices, analysts determined that Republicans still intended for the map to help their party. Governor Tom Wolf rejected the proposal.

The Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman explains that the court’s remedial map intentionally compensates for Democratic clustering in urban precincts.

Other commentators pointed out that many of the judgment calls the court made seemed to defy its own criteria.

This is to say that the court’s map does not simply remedy defects in the old districts, but goes further by ensuring that Pennsylvania’s House delegation more closely represents the statewide vote. Such compensation is not necessarily “unfair”, and it would probably be an exaggeration to describe this as a “Democratic gerrymander.”

Indeed, in a typical year, Republicans will still hold a 10 to 8 advantage. In this national climate, Democrats are expected to win at least 9 seats. Admittedly, this division hardly seems unreasonable in a swing state like Pennsylvania, and it certainly seems fairer than a 13–5 split in a state where parties almost never win more than 60 percent of the vote.

But this outcome is deeply problematic nonetheless. If the court faithfully applied its own order and only redrew cartoonishly-contorted (literally) districts like PA-07, Republicans, would, most likely, still have had the upper hand in a state like Pennsylvania, where Democrats are concentrated in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. As the NYT explains:

In general, partisan balance is not usually a goal when redistricting. You could certainly argue that partisan balance and maximizing the number of competitive districts should be among the criteria, but, in general, they are not. Instead, a nonpartisan map usually means a partisan-blind map. It strives for compact districts that respect communities of interest, with little regard for the partisan outcome.

A decision to pursue partisan balance in Pennsylvania is particularly significant because Democrats are at a clear geographic disadvantage. They waste a lopsided number of votes in heavily Democratic Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; the Republicans don’t waste as many votes in their best areas, and so the rest of the state (and therefore its districts) leans Republican. As a result, a partisan-blind map will tend to favor the Republicans by a notable amount.

No one, to my knowledge, is arguing that such a natural geographic edge is illegal. Therefore, it’s not the court’s place to eliminate this advantage in the course of adjudicating a constitutional dispute.

But I’m sure the judges figure that, when confronted with a choice between constitutional government and “what seems fair,” the voters will pick “what seems fair.”

Here are the old and new maps:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania%27s_congressional_districts#/media/File:Pennsylvania_Congressional_Districts,_113th_Congress.tif

http://www.wtae.com/article/pennsylvania-supreme-court-issues-new-congressional-district-map/18238727?src=app

Indeed, if it’s really unconstitutional to have an unrepresentative delegation, then we should simply do away with districts and apportion seats on a statewide, at-large basis. That would be a lot more sensible— and look a lot less partisan—than PA-01 jutting into Montgomery County. Or northern PA-06 stretching around Reading.

It’s unclear how the legislature will proceed. This is a difficult PR battle to win—how do you explain to the average voter that, because of demographic patterns, a map drawn for compactness and non-divisibility will generally advantage Republicans, unless you actively make sure it doesn’t?

Expect federal court challenges by Republicans arguing state legislatures, not courts, have exclusive authority over congressional redistricting. But since Justice Alito already rejected such a plea, it doesn’t seem likely a federal court will get involved.

This post has been updated. 

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Comments

Courts do maps now? I knew they made laws despite Article 1, section 1’s “all,” and could issue nationwide injunctions despite not having jurisdiction and not having the parties before the court.

Now are courts are doing something altogether. They’re eliminating the other two branches of government. Now that’s streamlining.

Kinda like Homer Simpson’s assessment of donuts, “Is there anything they can’t do?”

at 01:40. though the whole thing is worth the watching,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GcJsgqfxU8

    Ragspierre in reply to fscarn. | February 19, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    First, this is a state supreme court, and in a jurisdiction that existed BEFORE our constitution.

    And, yes, courts have often drawn maps, especially in this situation with an impending election cycle.

      starride in reply to Ragspierre. | February 19, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      I would think that drawing a map, that is obviously and statutorily, a legislative task, would be a violation of the separation of powers. I can see where they can say that this map is not fair, but I do not see where they can actually draw the map.

        Ragspierre in reply to starride. | February 19, 2018 at 11:02 pm

        Somebody had to, and before the elections.

        That is not ever to suggest that’s the last word. Just the interim word.

          Aarradin in reply to Ragspierre. | February 20, 2018 at 1:26 am

          “Somebody had to, and before the elections.”

          That’s not a legal argument.

          Per the US Constitution, State Legislatures draw US Congressional Districts.

          There is no circumstance under which any Court can usurp that power.

          PA’s State Supreme Court is simply making this up, with silly rationales like yours above that have absolutely no basis in law.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 20, 2018 at 9:06 am

          I’m not in the weeds on PA law, so, no, I don’t attempt a legal argument.

          You don’t, either. Let’s see what happens now.

      gospace in reply to Ragspierre. | February 20, 2018 at 12:04 am

      And the PA SC had previously ruled, in a suit that was brought before it with the time limits set by the PA Constitution, in 2014, that the current map IS IAW the PA Constitution. The current court, violating the PA Constitution and taking another case past the constitutionally set time limits, reversed that decision, and ordered the legislature to violate the PA Constitution and set new districts. Or they’re going to do it in violation of the PA Constitution. IOW they’re acting as a judicial tyranny.

        It sure appears that they redraw maps until Dems have a clear advantage or until Dems win. Dems keep pushing these lawsuits wherever they can and they sit on they’re hands where they like how it rolls. This idea that there should be “fairness” and dem voting areas and GOP voting areas is prejudicial, no? How does the court KNOW how folks are going to vote??? They are saying, the cake is baked? Seems so.

        Milhouse in reply to gospace. | February 20, 2018 at 9:41 am

        Gospace, stop lying. The PA constitution sets no limits on challenges to the congressional distribution. It says nothing at all directly about the distribution, or challenges to it. A congressional distribution is just like any other state law, subject to challenge on state constitutional grounds at any time.

        Since you’re already lying, and I couldn’t find any information about this alleged 2014 ruling, I don’t believe your claim that it happened. If there was such a ruling, link to evidence for it or let everyone know that this was yet another lie.

          gospace in reply to Milhouse. | February 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

          Liar, liar pants on fire.
          Legislative Reapportionment Commission
          Section 17.
          (a) In each year following the year of the Federal decennial census, a Legislative Reapportionment Commission shall be constituted for the purpose of reapportioning the Commonwealth. The commission shall act by a majority of its entire membership.

          (c) No later than ninety days after either the commission has been duly certified or the population data for the Commonwealth as determined by the Federal decennial census are available, whichever is later in time, the commission shall file a preliminary reapportionment plan with such elections officer. The commission shall have thirty days after filling the preliminary plan to make corrections in the plan. Any person aggrieved by
          the preliminary plan shall have the same thirty-day period to file exceptions with the commission in which case the commission shall thirty days after the date the exceptions were filled to prepare and file with such elections officer a revised reapportionment plan. If no exceptions are filled within thirty days, or if filed and acted upon, the commission’s plan shall be final and have the force of law.
          **************************************************
          (d) Any aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final plan directly to the Supreme Court within thirty days after the filing thereof. If the appellant establishes that the final plan is contrary to law, the Supreme Court shall issue an order remanding the plan to the commission and directing the commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a manner not inconsistent with such order.
          (e) When the Supreme Court has finally decided an appeal or when the last day for filing an appeal has passed with no appeal taken, the reapportionment plan shall have the force of law and the districts therein provided shall be used thereafter in elections to the General Assembly until the next reapportionment as required under this section 17.

          30 days after the final plan is adopted and approved. Written into the PA Constitution. Did you read it before you made your ignorant remark?

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | February 20, 2018 at 8:24 pm

          Gospace the liar cuts and pastes kilowords of irrelevant material hoping casual readers will not bother reading it but will take his word that it somehow bolsters his case. Nothing in that excerpt is in any way relevant to the apportionment of congressional districts.

      PA Supreme Court Justices are subject to retention elections.

4th armored div | February 19, 2018 at 6:29 pm

well, why have states ?
just divide the country according to population, of course that means NO united STATES.

ans guarantees LibRule like Eurabia.
if you think the civil war was ….
the war caused by the Judges on rampage will make that seem like an ice cream social.

Please help me understand why it is legal for the judicial branch to set political boundaries. Doesn’t it represent yuge judicial overreach?

    Obviously you are not a liberal Tiger66, otherwise it’s clear as mud.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to 4fun. | February 19, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      Liberal you say?

      One of the original meanings of “liberal.”

      “lacking moral restraint : licentious” definitely “marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness”

      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberal

        Conceptually, liberalism describes a divergent state.

        Progressivism is an [unqualified] monotonic process.

        Conservatism is a law of nature. Character/principles matter.

          YellowSnake in reply to n.n. | February 20, 2018 at 3:28 pm

          LOL! Of course you think ‘conservatism is a law of nature’. Is it part of the Grand Unified Theory?

        Re the “One of the original meanings of ‘liberal'”, wherein was given a link to a current modern dictionary as support. NOT SUPPORTED BY LINKED MATERIAL.

        However finding myself with millions of nanoseconds available to pursue leisure activities I googled “definition and origin of ‘liberal'” and Google thereupon presented the following definition and history of the word which seems quite, would you say, brief, concise and reasonably gives the scent of scholarship, eh?

        “Middle English: via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man).’ The original sense was ‘suitable for a free man,’ hence ‘suitable for a gentleman’ (one not tied to a trade), surviving in liberal arts . Another early sense, ‘generous’ (sense 4 of the adjective), gave rise to an obsolete meaning ‘free from restraint,’ leading to sense 1 of the adjective (late 18th century).”

        “Suitable for a free man.” … but wait … there ate the very end … also, later, later later in our history of humanity and language and now obsolete: ‘free from restraint’!

        Donald J. Trump is liberal to the core.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to tiger66. | February 19, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Impeachment Time for those Illegal, Democrat Party Judges!

    Hmmmmm…….

    Bet the FBI has ALL THE DIRT on those Democrat Judges!

    Ragspierre in reply to tiger66. | February 19, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    First, the question of “over-reach” is valid only where there is no fundamental question of law under Pennsylvania’s laws, as appears to be the case here, at least facially.

    Second, often in U.S. history the judicial branch has stepped in to deal with such issues.

The Reapportionment Act of 1929 must be repealed.

    Ragspierre in reply to ish. | February 19, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    The Reapportionment Act is a FEDERAL statute. I can’t see it’s application here.

      gwsjr425 in reply to Ragspierre. | February 20, 2018 at 7:35 am

      You just gave a “somebody had to do it” argument. STFU

      Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | February 20, 2018 at 9:56 am

      It’s also completely irrelevant. It says nothing about how each state should allocate its allotment of seats, and repealing it would not impose the requirements that used to exist before it.

        Milhouse the ignorant spews again.

        Article 1, Section 4, US Constitution:

        The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;

At least Alito is trying to stay ideologically consistent when it comes to federalism. Unfortunately it was the state constitution that allowed this to happen, the only way to remedy this would be to amend the state constitution. It is better for the Fed judiciary not to get involved, unless that clause in the state constitution conflicts with federal law, which I don’t see. I don’t agree with the state court on this, but it is a state problem that should be handled internally.

    Aarradin in reply to Elkolbster. | February 20, 2018 at 1:23 am

    How does a State Constitution invalidate the US Constitution?

      Milhouse in reply to Aarradin. | February 20, 2018 at 9:58 am

      It doesn’t. The US constitution says nothing about what arrangements state legislatures should make for congressional elections. Nor, since 1929, does any federal law. Thus they are completely subject to their state constitutions in this matter.

        Milhouse the ignorant.

        Article 1, section 4, US Constitution:

        The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;

    gospace in reply to Elkolbster. | February 20, 2018 at 2:20 am

    The PA Constitution DOES NOT ALLOW this to happen. The PA Supreme Court violated the PA State Constitution taking the case, ordered a violation of the PA Constitution by ordering the legislature to redraw districts, and if the legislature doesn’t do what they unconstitutionally ordered, they will violate the PA Constitution and redraw districts.

    Google Pennsylvania Constitution pdf and read it. It’s really hard not to draw that conclusion if you can read and comprehend English.

The legislature ignored the PA Constitution’s guidance on drawing up electoral districts,. The court had to make a temporary fix. The rest is WAH WAH WAH.

If the legislature acted to regard municipal and county boundaries better, the court would have no case to make a correction.

    Aarradin in reply to bvw. | February 20, 2018 at 1:22 am

    US Constitution grants State Legislatures sole authority to draw US Congressional Districts.

    Period.

    There is no circumstance under which ANY court can draw them.

      You imagine a National Constitution limit that isn’t there. Yes the authority is granted the state legislatures in the National Constitution. However nothing directly in that National Constitution that prevents judicial review of those bounds and metes. And yet their is under natural law, and under inherited Scot-Englsh law, the power to review. Why under natural law? To assure justice. In fact the National Constitution itself admits that rational with the words “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution”

      I will to consider that very august phrasing more closely in this matter. Clearly the drawing up of the districts is a battle for power between factions of people, between established political entities, and those entities do NOT include “We the People”, except indirectly, and thus the normal human trait to form small but potent factions to gain and hold power can be against, and often is found to be against, THE GENERAL WELFARE. Likewise as we see in the recent Mueller Investigation foreign powers do always seek to influence our internal government, politic, and national “agitations” to serve their own foreign interests. It is clear, btw, that the Russians sought not as much to favor one candidate over the other as they did seek to foster acrimony and division, weakness and confusion, in America. However it is clear that as circumstantial as the drawing up of electoral districts are, that that process itself would be subject to molestation by foreign influence. Thus assuring the propriety of process, and protecting the interests of Americans in that process is also to PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE. Likewise, so acrimonious and factional can these redistricting battles become that it is to all entities of the National Government under this national charter, according to the solemn duty entrusted that National Government in every office of it, to ENSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY, unless specifically forbidden by some clause in the charter, or if lacking the power to perform an act. The judicial power includes the natural and common law duty to ensure equity, as well, as when needed to step in to egregious situations clearly endangering the very existence of the nation, this is what TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION, TO ESTABLISH JUSTICE MEANS.

      The National Charter, that is the same as the Constitution, recognizes a number of high level entities, each being sovereign in its sphere. “We the People” is the first. It also recognizes the states, and in the states it happens to name the legislatures as entities in some clauses of this national charter. Does that mean that the executive, the judicial, or other entities in the states are negated by the national constitution? No at all. The state courts are also named, to a lesser degree in the National Constitution. The “supremacy clause” states “the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, [] of the several states”

      The state court in Pennsylvania has both the right, and the duty, and in egregious cases , the necessity to review acts of the state legislature.

      Moreover the Pennsylvania Constitution gives simple, understandable, and easily applied guidance on the drawing up of electoral districts. The power faction operating in that state’s assembly full of intense acrimony and division, willfully ignored that guidance, that state’s own constitutions guidance, to obvious harms of We the People, due to intense and perverted actions of political faction.

      The courts had a right. a duty and perhaps even a necessity to redraw the districts in this case.

      Milhouse in reply to Aarradin. | February 20, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Arradin, the US constitution doesn’t mention districts. It leaves congressional elections up to each state legislature, including the question of whether there should be districts at all, let alone how they should be drawn. Until 1929 federal law used to require state legislatures to draw compact districts; it doesn’t any more. Thus each state legislature is free to do whatever it likes, subject to its state constitution.

      BVW, the PA constitution does not give “simple, understandable, and easily applied guidance” on the drawing up of congressional districts. It says nothing at all about them. The PA challenge was based on general provisions of the constitution, that apply equally to all state legislation.

      You are correct that the PA courts have the authority to strike down the current map. Arradin is correct that it has no authority to draw a new one. It seems to me that in the absence of a valid scheme for the 2018 congressional election, PA cannot hold one, and the PA seats must remain vacant until the legislature passes a scheme that the state courts approve.

        The PA Constitution (via Ballotpedia) , excerpts:

        Preamble

        WE, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution

        Article II, Section 16: Legislative Districts

        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.

        Article II, Section 17: Legislative Reapportionment Commission
        (d) Any aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final plan directly to the Supreme Court within thirty days after the filing thereof. If the appellant establishes that the final plan is contrary to law, the Supreme Court shall issue an order remanding the plan to the commission and directing the commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a manner not inconsistent with such order. [I include only one paragraph of an extensive section, shown as typical of other recourses in this paragraph, recourse is use of existing or remand to the legislature, there is no direct sufferance in the PA Constitution to permit the court to draw up its own map, that would only avail as an intrinsic yet extra-constitutional authority under common law or natural law extingencies.]

        Article VII, Section 9: Fixing Election Districts
        Townships and wards of cities or boroughs shall form or be divided into election districts of compact and contiguous territory and their boundaries fixed and changed in such manner as may be provided by law.


        When there is a existential emergency to the state or even a great harm to persons that requires immediate action, there is a choice of a duty to act even usurping the power of one’s office. I hold this is is encompassed in the mission statement that the preamble provides.

        While the PA State Constitution does not specifically and or explicitly bring the way in which the districts of either the national congress of electors or the national congress of state representatives are to be drawn, it is reasonable to apply what avails in that same good simple guidance about the state’s own districts. That is, compact, contiguous and respecting existing municipal boundaries.

        The most recent product of the legislative redistricting process was wholly unfaithful to those good and sensible principles. The Constitution’s explicit recourse to correct that indignity, that perversion of a map of election districts would be to return to the prior map, or to remand it to the nigh-feral (imo) legislature for “another go”.

        Yet neither recourse can avail in this situation, so close to a election where the old map is for more national representatives than our national constitution allows.

        So the Supreme Court of the COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania took an extra-constitutional action to remedy an immediate harm to persons. Those persons would would otherwise lack ANY national representative.

          Milhouse in reply to bvw. | February 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm

          As you explicitly acknowledge, Article II, § 16-17 have no connection to congressional districts. The legislature may choose to take them as some sort of moral guide, if it likes, but it is absolutely not required to do so, and shouldn’t if it thinks it would be unwise.

          “Extraconstitutional” is a fancy word for “illegal”. An even fancier term is ultra vires. If the judges are lawbreakers themselves, what right have they got to claim the legislators broke the law?

“analysts determined that Republicans still intended for the map to help their party”

I wonder what powers of mind reading were employed to determine that. Given that votes are apportioned by district and not population, any geographically neutral map will favor Republicans. It sure looks like PA’s supreme court is trying to apportion by population in order to hand the state to the Democrats while facially not doing so.

Really, I suspect this is the start of something bigger. Much bigger. The NYTimes quote is important.

From what I can tell, the new generation of intellectual map-drawers tend to a belief that “fair” isn’t about representing interests but rather in closely giving proportional representation (and as most academics are Democrats, this is very convenient as is seen in this map). This is, of course, a change from the notion that maps should ‘split interests’ and group like areas (which was seen in the traditional arguments about racial-gerrymandering) to something more closely resembling a straight popular vote.

The effect will be something more closely representing a tyranny of the majority where cities and exurban areas gain strength at the expense of the harder-to-campaign-and-represent rural districts. If we imagine there being a point in which urban interests dominate rural interests (ex: upstate versus downstate NY) then the point will shift much closer to the urban side. This is of course the preferred outcome for those in cities who dominate the media and (arguably) the academy.

It should be noted there has been a simultaneous push towards algorithmic solutions (as seen in the recent supreme court case). The problem is that algorithms aren’t neutral. They are specifically built to accomplish certain goals at the expense of others. So we must look into the those who design the algorithms and what they would seek to accomplish.

The interesting point here is also that the map favors the Democrats more than the Democrats’ own map. I haven’t studied this particular professor’s methodology, but if he’s like the people I know studying algorithmic gerrymandering, it’s because the map really is based off a fundamentally different premise than the maps of the past. I suspect the Democrats will figure this out and start heavily pushing a new legal argument in it’s gerrymandering cases to push for something more closely representing this map in other states and localities.

There’s simply no way any court can ever have the authority to draw US Congressional Districts in any State.

This is a blatant violation of the US Constitution.

So, based on precisely nothing, the State Supreme Court voted 4:3 on purely partisan political lines to accept this new map, drawn in a hyper-partisan political manner to favor the D’s even more than the map they themselves drew.

What a farce.

Can’t help noticing its never Un-Constitutional when Democrats gerrymander like crazy. Which they do – EVERY time they have the opportunity. Worse, due to VRA districts, they use Federal courts to strike down maps that are drawn by R’s.

Speaking of which – this map redraws 2 VRA Districts. R’s should sue over that. What’s sauce for the goose…

No such thing as a “non-partisan” or “neutral” anything.

In my entire life, I’ve never seen anything described as either that hadn’t, long since, been co-opted by a partisan Democrat.

I’m no Dem but the PA map was outrageously gerrymandered. Mind you, the Dems did that back in the 1960’s-80’s, I know that. Still, the Repub map was so bad that the Court map looks mighty good by comparison. The ultimate answer is that a computer program does the map using these criteria:
(1) all districts have the same population within 1%.
(2) the total length of all district boundaries be minimized.
If it is desired that “localities” not be divided, then simply pre-prepare the map into indivisible “localities”. Job done.

>> The Reapportionment Act is a FEDERAL statute. I can’t see it’s application here. <<

It’s quite simple: the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is only able to send eighteen Representatives to Congress. Given that Pennsylvania has a population a bit north of 12.8 million, each Representative is representing approximately 712,000 residents… The Framers of our Constitution intended that the number of Representatives in each state should be one for every thirty thousand residents. (Article I, §2, cl. 3)

Each Congressman from Pennsylvania is wielding far to much power. Every district is far too large. Every voter’s vote is far to devalued.

This is true for every state in the Union.

If the House had not been artificially capped at 435 Representatives, but had instead been allowed to grow with our population at the 1:30k ratio, we’d see far less gerrymandering, far more regional variations and less national monolithic parties, and so forth.

    Ragspierre in reply to ish. | February 20, 2018 at 9:46 am

    OK. I’ll buy that argument, though it is off-topic here.

    It’s one I’ve made, and it is a really radical idea (going to the root “radical”).

    But it’s also radical in the sense that it would entail a revolution in how Congress IS. It would, for instance, be a vastly different “body” that could never “meet” in any existing space we recognize as “the House”.

    I’m fer it, but I think there’s a whopper of a sales program required to get there.

    bvw in reply to ish. | February 20, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Yes, having five people vote to rule on something is quite difficult enough at times, or even two — as any married person can attest. Yet to have more than some few thousand do so is utterly meaningless in most situations, including the election of representatives. We have in the US, historically, a representative democracy of hierarchies. The lowest undividable unit was the household, in practice. So the free and literate male adult head of household voted in elections and was eligible for jury services. (And citizen juries were used not just for trials, but also as special bodies to make official determinations, such as a map of this type, or to decide the parcels and prices needed to acquire for public purpose.)

    The household was the atom of economic and social welfare, the “general welfare”. It makes sense each household, not each person, should have one vote. Likewise at higher levels of human association, other voting rules may be reasonable. For example, why not have a random large jury in each of the several districts chose a national representative to the national house of representatives?

    YellowSnake in reply to ish. | February 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    1st get enough states to join the ‘National Popular Vote Interstate Compact’ so that the vote for President is based on the popular vote. Then move on.

So it is ok for a court to politically gerrymander and replace their politics for a legislative gerrymander? In what universe?

    bill54 in reply to Chgolaw. | February 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Actually the court’s map looks a lot less gerrymandered than the republican’s map. And I DO NOT want democrats to take any more seats, but lose them.

>> 1st get enough states to join the ‘National Popular Vote Interstate Compact’ so that the vote for President is based on the popular vote. Then move on. <<

If you really want to be governed by California, move to California.

50% of the United States population is clustered in a mere 146 counties, out of the 3,000+ in total. Most are in Southern California, the New York City sprawl, south Florida, and the Seattle sprawl.

If we switched to a national popular vote, a candidate would only pretty much only have to win SoCal and NYC.

Is there data on the racial demographics of the new districts? It sounds like the court’s map broke up some minority-majority districts, which could result in Voting Rights Act challenges.

    bvw in reply to Xmas. | February 21, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    So which is the worse harm? Yes, I suspect that is likely. Hard to juggle with one hand. Not impossible just hard.

State and Federal courts are out of control. A court should rule that redistricting is unconstitutional and return it to the legislature to fix with the reasoning for the ruling. Courts should not redraw the districts. It is up to the legislatures to take back their constitutional powers.

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