Drawing New Congressional Map Was Wrong

March 3, 2018 GMT

Editor: Two wrongs don’t make a right. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court correctly identified our current congressional districts as gerrymandered; then it did wrong by drawing its own map. And it is wrong for many reasons: • The Pennsylvania Constitution gives this authority strictly to lawmakers, not judges. No state court in America has ever thrown out a map on partisan grounds and forced its own map upon the people. • The court changed the rules of the game just as petitions are being circulated from congressional candidates, throwing this critical midterm election into confusion. • The redistricting process is supposed to take place immediately after the 10-year census precisely to correct shifts in population. The court is using eight-year-old data to redraw the map, which is sure to be inaccurate. • The 2011 map was approved by the General Assembly 136-61 with 36 Democrats voting in favor and eight Republicans voting against. Now this obviously partisan court wants to recreate the bipartisan map? Perhaps these judges should run for the state House if they want to legislate. • The speed at which the court fast-tracked this case is unprecedented. Why was this case brought forth six years after the 2011 map was first authorized? Clearly, it was because the judges on the court changed. Rather than plead the case on merit, the plaintiffs waited for a different referee. Make no mistake, the 2011 congressional map is horribly gerrymandered. However, the critical issue here is one of timing and of jurisdiction. I salute Democratic judge Max Baer and his reasoning that the map should be changed, but not at the expense of the integrity of our courts nor at the compromising of our elections. The other judges have set a very dangerous precedent and should either step down or face impeachment. Harry Haas KINGSTON