Republicans ‘got greedy’ in drawing Pennsylvania congressional maps, new documents say

Claudia Vargas | Thursday, January 9, 2020, The Philadelphia Inquirer

A trove of documents recently released by the daughter of a deceased GOP strategist includes some clues about what Republicans were thinking almost a decade ago when they redrew Pennsylvania’s congressional maps in a way that was later ruled unconstitutional.

The documents, compiled at least partly amid the decennial redistricting that took place in 2011, include a warning that the party “got greedy” in an attempt to create districts favorable to GOP candidates 10 years earlier.

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Amendment to state redistricting bill may scuttle it

Liz Navratil, Gillian McGoldrick & Jonathan Lai | Tuesday, June 12, 2018, Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — With time running out to alter how Pennsylvania’s political maps will be drawn in 2021, Republicans in the state Senate made a dramatic change to a redistricting bill Tuesday that prompted key activists to pull their support and begin lobbying against it.

A day before the bill is to come up for a final vote in the chamber, Sen. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, introduced an amendment that would allow voters to decide whether appellate judges — including state Supreme Court justices — should be elected from regional districts rather than statewide.

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Hearing looms on Pennsylvania congressional redistricting issue

Brian Bowling | Monday, March 5, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The only certainty in the congressional redistricting case is that Republicans lose if they can’t persuade a three-judge panel to grant a preliminary injunction, said Bruce Ledewitz, a Duquesne University law professor.

The federal judges are scheduled to hear arguments Friday in Harrisburg.

A preliminary injunction stops one side from taking an action while the other pursues its legal challenge. In this case, Republicans want to bar the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf from implementing a state Supreme Court ruling that overturned a 2011 congressional map for Pennsylvania drawn by GOP lawmakers.

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A reluctant Pa. legislature settles in for a map-making cram session

Charles Thompson | Tuesday, February 6, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

Backed into a corner after weeks of hand-to-hand legal combat, majority Republicans in the Pennsylvania Legislature are reluctantly setting about drawing a new Congressional map.

Top Senate and House staffers said Tuesday their leaders have resigned themselves to try to comply with a Jan. 22 state Supreme Court order that ruled the current boundaries of Pennsylvania’s 18 U.S. House districts unconstitutional due to extreme partisan gerrymandering.

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Inside the gerrymandering data top Pa. Republicans fought to keep private

Jonathan Lai | Friday, December 8, 2017, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Republican lawmakers used detailed data on the partisan leanings of voters when they created the current Pennsylvania congressional map, according to documents federal judges had ordered them to turn over in a trial that began this week.

Lawyers for House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati had fought to keep private a trove of documents as they prepared for the trial, which began Monday in Philadelphia. They also sought to block the documents in a separate, state gerrymandering trial that begins next week in Harrisburg.

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Pa. high court fast tracks gerrymandering case

Maddie Hanna and Jonathan Lai | Thursday, November 9, 2017, The Philadelphia Inquirer

In a case that could force the redrawing of congressional maps before the 2018 elections, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Commonwealth Court to decide a gerrymandering lawsuit by the end of the year.

“We will have our day in court, and we will get a decision and a resolution of this matter in time for the 2018 election,” said Mimi McKenzie, legal director of the Philadelphia-based Public Interest Law Center, which represents the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania in the case.

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