The court overturned the existing boundaries in a gerrymandering case.

The Latest: Analysts see more parity in congressional map

February 19, 2018 - 8:05 pm

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on Pennsylvania's congressional gerrymandering case (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

Independent analysts say Pennsylvania's new court-ordered map of congressional districts should improve Democratic prospects but the map still favors Republicans as a whole.

An analysis conducted Monday through PlanScore.org concluded the state Supreme Court's redrawn map eliminates "much of the partisan skew" favoring Republicans on the old Republican-drawn map. It shows the reconfiguration leaves the map with slight GOP favoritism.

PlanScore was created by political scientists, legal scholars and digital mapmakers to analyze gerrymandering.

University of Florida political science doctoral student Brian Amos analyzed the court's map and found Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Republican Donald Trump in eight of 18 districts in the 2016 presidential election. That's compared with six of 18 districts Clinton won in 2016 under the invalidated map.

The court ruled last month GOP-drawn district boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

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6 p.m.

Republicans say they'll go to federal court this week to try to block new court-ordered boundaries of Pennsylvania's congressional districts from remaining in effect for 2018's elections.

Top Senate Republican lawyer Drew Crompton said Monday a separation of powers case will form the essence of the GOP's argument. Crompton won't say whether Republicans will go to a district court or the U.S. Supreme Court or what type of legal remedy they'll seek.

But the case will involve making the argument the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures and governors, not courts, the power to draw congressional boundaries.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court wouldn't stop the state court's order to redraw congressional districts.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf calls the new map an effort to remedy the state's unfair and unequal congressional elections.

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4:40 p.m.

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is applauding the new boundaries of congressional districts being imposed by the state Supreme Court.

Wolf said in a statement Monday that Pennsylvanians "are sick and tired of gerrymandering." He calls the court's map an effort to remedy the state's unfair and unequal congressional elections.

Wolf had backed the Democratic-majority state high court's ruling last month to throw out Pennsylvania's district boundaries. Republicans have won 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in three elections under the invalidated map, although statewide elections are often closely contested.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Stack says the court's map "restores a level playing field."

Republican lawmakers are expected to challenge the map in federal court.

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3:55 p.m.

The new boundaries of congressional districts being imposed by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court could boost the Democratic Party's quest to capture control of the U.S. House in 2018's elections.

The map of districts released on the court's deadline day Monday unwinds bizarrely contorted districts, including one labeled "Goofy Kicking Donald Duck," that had been held by Republicans in Philadelphia's moderate suburbs.

The divided court appears to have drawn its own map, approved in a 4-3 vote, although some districts bear similarities to proposals submitted to the court by Democrats.

The court's order doesn't provide details on which counties, municipalities and wards are in each district. That has sowed confusion, including whether two candidates running to fill a vacancy in southwestern Pennsylvania would each land in a district with a Pittsburgh-area congressman.

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2:45 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is imposing a new congressional district map for the state's 2018 elections, meeting its deadline to do so and likely setting up a challenge from Republicans.

Monday's order means a new map is to take effect in the May 15 primary. Republican lawmakers are expected to quickly challenge it in federal court, arguing legislatures and governors, not courts, have the constitutional responsibility to draw congressional maps.

If it stands, the revised map is almost certain to improve Democrats' chances in more seats this year.

The Democratic-majority state high court ruled last month that Pennsylvania's district boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Republicans have won 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in three elections under the invalidated map, although statewide elections are often closely contested.

The new map won't apply to March's special election in southwestern Pennsylvania's 18th District.

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7 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is on the cusp of imposing a new congressional district map for the state's 2018 elections, all but ensuring that Democratic prospects will improve for several seats.

The court set a Monday deadline for itself to unveil a map of districts to take effect in the May 15 primary, although Republican lawmakers have said they'll ask federal judges to block any new map. They contend that the court is unconstitutionally commandeering legislative authority to draw districts.

The state's Democratic-majority high court ruled last month in a party-line decision that Pennsylvania's district boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Republicans have won 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in three elections under the invalidated map, although Democrats hold a statewide registration edge and most statewide offices.

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