Pennsylvania Republicans are furious over the prospect of a fairer state house map, and so are proposing to replace the existing commission with a new one biased in their favor and lacking ultimate authority over redistricting. (The proposal is likely unconstitutional, too, because it would require some commissioners to be elected by a majority vote of county governments, in violation of Gray v. Sanders.)
Republican lawmakers in the Pennsylvania state House, infuriated by the proposed new map for their districts, are fast-tracking legislation that could effectively give them complete control to draw new lines — and long before the next decennial redistricting.
The proposal could ultimately allow the legislature — which Republicans have fully controlled for all but four of the last 27 years — to draw gerrymandered lines with little oversight. While the proposed constitutional amendment would create a new redistricting commission that includes regular citizens to draw legislative maps, Republicans would currentlyhave an advantage in picking its members. And lawmakers would have the power to approve or reject the maps drawn by that commission — and to draw their own. . . .
Under Grove’s proposal, maps would first be drawn by an 11-member Citizens’ Legislative Reapportionment Commission. The legislative leaders would each appoint two members. Two additional members from different parties would be appointed by a majority vote of county governments from the state’s 67 counties. That would give Republicans an edge because they control most of the counties, so they could pick a registered Democrat who is more favorable to them than other applicants. (Republicans control a far greater number of less populous counties, while Democrats control a smaller number of the most populous counties.)