Scoring the Pennsylvania Proposals

…s to submit their proposed remedial maps in the ongoing litigation over Pennsylvania’s congressional plan. In sum, seven maps were submitted: two by the plaintiffs, one by the governor, one by the lieutenant governor, one by Pennsylvania House Democrats, one by Pennsylvania Senate Democrats, and one by a group of intervenors. (The state’s Republican legislative leaders also submitted their map a few days earlier.) All of these maps perform…

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“Judges Say Throw Out the Map. Lawmakers Say Throw Out the Judges.”

NYT:  In Pennsylvania, a Republican lawmaker unhappy with a State Supreme Court ruling on gerrymandering wants to impeach the Democratic justices who authored it. In Iowa, a running dispute over allowing firearms in courthouses has prompted bills by Republican sponsors to slash judges’ pay and require them to personally pay rent for courtrooms that are gun-free. In North Carolina, the Republican Party is working on sweeping changes to rein in…

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Introducing PlanScore — Evaluating New Maps

…in we plan to add more states soon (especially ones that might find themselves in remedial proceedings due to ongoing litigation). As an example of PlanScore’s utility, consider the remedial plan that was recently offered by Pennsylvania’s Republican legislative leaders after the state’s congressional map was struck down. We uploaded the map on the site, and learned the following about it: Its efficiency gap, partisan bias, and mean-median…

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“Experts launch PlanScore.org to allow citizens to evaluate redistricting schemes”

…re proposed maps for Pennsylvania, with Wisconsin, North Carolina, Maryland and Ohio coming soon.  By 2020, PlanScore plans to allow maps to be scored for all 50 states. An analysis conducted through PlanScore shows that the Pennsylvania congressional map proposed February 9 by Republican legislative leaders to meet the state Supreme Court’s order is still seriously skewed in favor of Republican candidates and voters.  The new map was scored for…

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Pennsylvania Governor Rejects Republican Legislative Leaders’ Proposed Districting Plan, Meaning Special Master Will Draw Congressional Districts

…ers’ submission is another partisan gerrymander. Princeton University professor Sam Wang said bluntly that “a prettier map can still conceal ill intent” and “it appears that Republicans are not dealing in good faith with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order.” A Washington Post data expert concluded, “Pennsylvania Republicans have drawn a new congressional map that is just as gerrymandered as the old one.” The New York Times found the submitted…

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“Election Security in All 50 States”–New CAP Report and Big Monday Event

…hat were targeted by hackers during the 2016 election.1 Among those states notified by DHS were: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.2 Arizona, California, Iowa, Texas, and Wisconsin were also among those states originally contacted by DHS. However, those states have denied that their election systems were…

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“Pa. Republicans have proposed a new congressional map. Democrats say it’s still gerrymandered.”

Philly.com:  A proposed new map of Pennsylvania congressional districts may have sanded off some of the rougher edges of the current version, but it still amounts to a pro-Republican gerrymander, a chorus of Democrats complained Saturday as they urged Gov. Wolf to reject it. The governor, whose administration is combing through the proposal with the advice of a prominent mathematics professor, is expected to announce his position on the new map…

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“We the People, or We the Voters?”

…ly lose four seats.  California would lose five.  Those seats would go instead to states with higher CVAP-to-total-population ratios, which is another way of saying states with fewer children and fewer immigrants—states like Pennsylvania and Montana.*  This will not happen.  Congressional apportionment by CVAP is a nativist pipe dream, unambiguously unconstitutional. That much is settled.  But, the constitutional rule does not by its express…

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“Top Republicans in Pa. House, Senate submit congressional map to Gov. Wolf”

Philly Inquirer:  Facing a deadline imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the legislature’s two top Republicans late Friday submitted to the governor a new statewide map of congressional districts to replace boundaries the justices ruled were unconstitutional. If approved, the map submitted by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) and House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) would result in significant changes for the…

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“Pennsylvania has to draw new congressional districts, but getting rid of gerrymandering will be harder than you think.”

…. As is true nationwide, Democrats are clustered around the major cities — Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — while Republicans are spread more broadly around the state. A new, nonpartisan district map would almost certainly give Pennsylvania Democrats a better chance at holding more House seats. But eliminating gerrymandering is not as straightforward as you might think There are at least two important legal issues the court would have to tackle in…

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Cutting-Edge Evidence and an Old-Fashioned Decision

…servations to Jim’s excellent analysis. First, there is a disconnect in the decision between the evidence the court summarizes and the legal standard it then articulates. The evidence presented at trial was largely about the Pennsylvania plan’s partisan skew: how enormous it is compared to other maps, both in the state and nationwide; how such a large tilt undermines congressional representation; how the plan will continue to benefit Republicans…

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Jim Gardner Analysis of PA Redistricting Decision: “Federalism complicates the analysis as a state court opens a second front in the struggle against gerrymandering”

…ia’s 2011 congressional districting plan on the ground that it violated state constitutional prohibitions on partisan gerrymandering.  On Wednesday, the court released the full opinions in the case, League of Women Voters v. Pennsylvania.  The Court’s 4-1-2 opinion invalidating the districting plan under the Pennsylvania Constitution’s “Free and Equal Elections” Clause is highly unusual, and represents a potentially significant development in…

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“As deadline looms, Republicans consider new strategy for Pa. congressional maps”

Philly Inquirer: It’s official: The state legislature will not pass a new congressional map before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Friday deadline. But the Republican leaders who control both chambers weren’t ready Thursday to cede the redrawing of districts to the state’s highest court, which has a Democratic majority. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) and House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) were considering…

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“Pa. Supreme Court releases gerrymandering opinion: 2011 map violates ‘free and equal’ elections”

Philly Inquirer: Pennsylvania’s congressional map, as adopted in 2011, violates the state constitution’s guarantee that “elections shall be free and equal,” the state Supreme Court said Wednesday in an opinion explaining its gerrymandering order overturning the map more than two weeks ago. “An election corrupted by extensive, sophisticated gerrymandering and partisan dilution of votes is not ‘free and equal,’ ” Justice Debra McCloskey Todd…

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“Pennsylvania Republican launches effort to impeach state supreme court to save GOP gerrymander”

Ian Millhiser for Think Progress: In a direct attack on the rule of law, Pennsylvania state Rep. Cris Dush (R) sent a memo to his colleagues Monday evening asking them to cosponsor articles of impeachment against five of the state’s seven supreme court justices. The justices’ crime? Striking down the state’s gerrymandered congressional maps, which allowed Republicans to win 13 of the state’s 18 congressional seats even in election years when…

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“Republicans Fighting to Protect Gerrymandering in Pennsylvania Have an Ethics Problem”

…e serious conflict of interest: Scarnati donated $25,000 to a different state supreme court justice, Republican Sallie Mundy, in April 2017. The donation came through his political action committee. Supreme court justices in Pennsylvania are elected in partisan campaigns, and last year Mundy received donations from Scarnati as well as two Republican members of the US Congress from Pennsylvania. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick donated $1,000 to Mundy’s…

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League of Women Voters Files SCOTUS Opposition to Stay in Pa Congressional Gerrymandering Case; SCOTUS May Rule in This and NC Stay Case At Any Time

…ennsylvania’s Constitution for one more election cycle. This Court need not take our word for it. For months, Applicants in No. 17A795 (“Legislative Applicants”) have been telling federal courts in separate suits challenging Pennsylvania’s 2011 map that, under settled precedent, they must defer 2 to Pennsylvania state courts. They told this Court that federal courts would be “usurp[ing] the power of the Pennsylvania state courts” to review and…

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Republican Party Funds Amicus Brief of Six Republican Secretaries of State (Including AL SOS John Merrill) Seeking to Stop Pennsylvania Redistricting Ordered by State Supreme Court to Cure Partisan Gerrymandering

…labama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and South Carolina have filed this amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Pennsylvania U.S. House lawsuit over partisan gerrymandering. This is the case in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated the U.S. House district boundaries based on the Pennsylvania constitution. The Secretaries of State of these other six states want the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the decision of the…

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Pa: “Governor Wolf to Enlist Non-Partisan Mathematician to Evaluate Fairness of Redistricting Maps”

…partisan mathematician, Moon Duchin, Ph.D. an Associate Professor of Mathematics from Tufts University, to provide him guidance on evaluating redistricting maps for fairness. Governor Wolf has made clear since the Supreme Court ruled the map unconstitutional that he saw this as an opportunity to eliminate partisan gerrymandering and deliver the people of Pennsylvania a fair Congressional map….

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Justice Alito Has Not Yet Acted on Pa. Congressional Gerrymandering Stay Request from Pa. Legislative Republicans. Why?

On Thursday, Pennsylvania Republicans sought to stop a Pa Supreme Court order requiring that the state’s congressional districts be redrawn because they violate the state Constitution. The claim to the United States Supreme Court is an extreme long shot because ordinarily interpretations of state constitutions rest with state Supreme Courts, and the Republicans in the federal litigation said that it should be the state courts which…

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Full Employment for @Persily Month

Penn Live: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has retained a special advisor and asked for technical data in the event it needs to become more directly involved in creating Pennsylvania’s next Congressional district map. The court issued an order Friday naming Stanford University law professor Nathan Persily “to assist the court in adopting, if necessary, a remedial congressional redistricting plan.” Persily is an elections law…

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“How Big a Deal Is a New Congressional Map for Pennsylvania?”

…7;s The Upshot: The Republicans are counting on a favorable congressional map to help their majority ride out a possible “wave” election this November. But the congressional map got a little less favorable on Monday when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the state’s Republican-drawn congressional map. If the ruling holds — and it is expected to, because it’s based on state law, not federal — this will be the fourth Republican…

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Congressional Districts on State Law Grounds; And There’s a Longshot Theory to Get SCOTUS Review

Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on state law grounds held the state’s congressional districting violated the state constitution. It ordered the state legislature to submit a plan with compact and contiguous districts.  If it can’t get a plan signed by the (Democratic) governor, the Pa courts will draw the maps.  (Two Justices dissented.) This case is separate from a federal constitutional case (Agre v. Wolf) that is on its way…

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North Carolina redistricting – where we’re at

…hich will take a while.  So the presumptive congressional maps for the 2018 elections are the maps passed in 2016.  (Elections in 2012, 2014, and 2016 were held under the invalid maps, and elections in 2018 will almost certainly be held under the 2016 maps also invalidated by the trial court.) And that’s just North Carolina.  There’s still continuing action on congressional plans in Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and on…

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Pennsylvania Republicans Hint at U.S. Supreme Court Appeal in State Gerrymandering Case

Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case arguing that Pennsylvania’s congressional districts violate the state Constitution. Ordinarily a ruling on state constitutional grounds cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, because there are no federal issues involved, but state Republicans are hinting at a SCOTUS appeal if they lose: Drew Crompton, a lawyer for Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R),…

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“Pennsylvania Could Be On The Verge Of Dealing Partisan Gerrymandering A Big Blow”

Sam Levine for HuffPo: Pennsylvania’s highest court could be on the verge of setting unprecedented limits on how much politicians can redraw electoral districts to their party’s advantage, a decision that would have profound legal and political consequences both in the state and the rest of the country. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear oral argument on Wednesday in a case alleging the state’s 2011 congressional map, drawn by…

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“Adventures in Extreme Gerrymandering: See the Fair and Wildly Unfair Maps We Made for Pennsylvania”

…limit partisan gerrymandering, it could get a lot more extreme. As unfavorable as the current map is for Democrats, Republicans could go even further in 2020 if they controlled the process again. This is unlikely because the Pennsylvania governor is now a Democrat, but Pennsylvania serves as a good illustration of how gerrymandering can play out. We’ve redrawn the Pennsylvania congressional map in two ways. One is a neutral map, the kind…

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The State of Play on Partisan Gerrymandering Cases at the Supreme Court

…term. The most likely scenario is that such petitions will be held for the other partisan gerrymandering cases decided this term, and then remanded for reconsideration to the lower courts in late June. One further wrinkle in Pennsylvania: there’s a state Supreme Court case pending over whether Pennsylvania’s redistricting violates the state constitution. That would not end up at the Supreme Court and could moot the federal case. And…

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“In gerrymandering case, judge recommends Pa. Supreme Court uphold congressional map”

Philly Inquirer:  Commonwealth Court judge recommended Friday that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court uphold the state’s map of congressional districts in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit that challenges the map as unconstitutionally drawn to benefit Republicans.  Democrats hold a 5-2 majority on the state’s high court, which has fast-tracked the suit. On Friday, the justices scheduled oral arguments for  Jan. 17 in Harrisburg. “A lot can and…

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“Some Change in Apportionment Allocations With New 2017 Census Estimates; But Greater Change Likely by 2020 “

…th Carolina, and Oregon to each gain a single seat while the state of Texas is now shown to gain a second seat with the new data. The states of New York and West Virginia joins the states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania to lose a seat in Congress using the new data. The new numbers, however, reflect subtle changes taking place across the nation in birth and death rates and resulting total population numbers that become…

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“Money Is Flowing Into State Supreme Court Races, Study Says”

…conflicts of interest.  There were more million-dollar supreme court races than ever before. Twenty-seven justices were elected in $1 million-plus races in 2015-16, compared with the previous high of 19 justices in 2007-08. Pennsylvania also set an all-time national record for its 2015 election, attracting a total of $21.4 million in spending for three open seats. A greater number of justices elected in high-dollar races means more potential…

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“Compelling closing arguments bring federal trial over Pa. gerrymandering to an end”

…WHYY: The federal trial over Pennsylvania’s congressional district map wrapped up in a Philadelphia courtroom on Thursday with a string of stirring closing arguments before a three-judge panel. During four days of deliberations, a group of more than 20 Pennsylvania voters challenged the way Republican lawmakers drew the state’s congressional districts in 2011, asserting a gerrymandering scheme that violates the U.S. Constitution….

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“In Pennsylvania gerrymander case, experts can’t defend the indefensible”

…r the rest of the decade. It would take a five-point swing for Democrats to capture just one more seat. For the map’s skew to disappear, Democrats would need to improve on their 2016 showing by 14 points — a bigger wave than Pennsylvania has seen in generations. And the map’s tilt can’t be explained by the clustering of Democratic voters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In hundreds of computer-simulated maps, Democrats usually win nine or 10 of…

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The Measure of a Metric, Part Three

…states has no impact on delegations’ ideological makeups. The conclusion we draw from these studies is that in the competitive states where most recent partisan gerrymandering lawsuits have been filed (e.g., North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin), all of the common gerrymandering metrics can and should be used. But if scholars or litigants want to analyze gerrymandering in uncompetitive states, they should not use partisan bias or the…

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“Older Voters Stymied by Tighter ID Requirements”

…ttle enforcement and resources devoted to ensuring that older Americans and others with disabilities can vote,” said Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justiceat New York University. More recently, a wave of onerous state voting requirements has added to the problem, with an outsized effect on older voters, argues a new report by Senator Robert Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota….

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“Pennsylvania Congressman Is Under F.B.I. Scrutiny, Court Records Show”

NYT: The F.B.I. is investigating whether Representative Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House Administration Committee, illegally paid a political opponent $90,000 to drop out of a 2012 primary race, court documents show. Two of Mr. Brady’s political consultants have already been charged in a campaign finance investigation of the congressman’s 2012 re-election. But a recently unsealed application for a search warrant…

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“Gerrymandering suit can proceed, Pa. Supreme Court rules”

Philly.com: In a case that could force the redrawing of congressional maps before the 2018 elections, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Thursday ordered a Commonwealth Court judge to hear a gerrymandering lawsuit by the end of the year. …The high court’s 4-3 vote overturned a Commonwealth Court decision. In a hearing last month, Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pelligrini said he did not see the case being decided before the 2018 elections,…

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“How states can fix the Electoral College and prevent future Trumps”

…th the Electoral College’s original intent, and how states already are empowered to remedy the defect. Trump was able to win these states without a majority because there were more than two candidates on the ballot. Without Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in the mix, Clinton might have received more votes than Trump in some of these six states. If she had done so in just Florida and either Pennsylvania, Michigan, or North Carolina, that would have…

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“Pedro Cortes, Pa. secretary of state, steps down”

Phil. Inquirer: Pedro Cortes, Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, abruptly resigned from office Wednesday, three weeks after his agency came under criticism for a glitch that may have allowed thousands of ineligible immigrants statewide to vote. Cortes’ departure was announced in a 349-word “personnel update” emailed from Gov. Wolf’s office that offered no reason and focused almost entirely on his replacement, interim Secretary of State Robert…

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