Wolf Rejects GOP Congressional Maps

Governor Tom Wolf officially rejected the Congressional maps submitted to his office by state Senate and House Republicans

“As non-partisan analysts have already said, their map maintains a similar partisan advantage by employing many of the same unconstitutional tactics present in their 2011 map,” Wolf said in a statement. 

Wolf continued saying the maps submitted benefit Republicans, which is against the court order.  

“The analysis by my team shows that, like the 2011 map, the map submitted to my office by Republican leaders is still a gerrymander. Their map clearly seeks to benefit one political party, which is the essence of why the court found the current map to be unconstitutional.”  

Wolf’s decision ahead of the February 15th deadline gives him the opportunity to submit his own maps to the Supreme Court, or allow the deadline to pass letting the Supreme Court draw the new map.

February 13th, 2018 | Posted in Congress, Front Page Stories, Governor, Top Stories | 48 Comments

48 thoughts on “Wolf Rejects GOP Congressional Maps”

  1. Pa citizen says:

    Since the State Supreme Court has no authority to redraw the congressional maps. The state legislator should impeach the Judges for violating their oath of office and being partisan legislators !

  2. Mike says:

    Wolf had to veto the reworked map, as many Democrats across the state are already lukewarm on him. Accepting the map may have been the kiss of death for him with progressives. He was kinda in a no-win situation.

    WIth that said, Wolf and the Democrats played into Republican hands here. Once the state Supremes draw a new map, the state GOP is going to run right to SCOTUS with a pretty compelling argument that the power to draw district boundaries rests with the legislature, not the court.

    Whether Dems like it or not, Turzai and Scarnati followed the court’s instructions on the redraw essentially to a “T”. It’s not the GOP’s problem that, outside of Philly, parts of the Philly suburbs, and the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania went fairly heavily for Donald Trump in the last election. What are they supposed to do – gerrymander the new map to come up with favorable Democratic ratios in areas where they currently don’t really exist?

    Under the Turzai/Scarnati map, Democrats had the 7th handed to them and had better-than-even shots in at least two other districts.

    However, if I had to bet, I would say that we’ll be holding the 2018 congressional elections under the current lines.

    And Democrats won’t have anyone to blame but themselves.

    1. David Diano says:

      Mike-

      The “legislature” abrogated it’s claimed right to draw the map when the two d*ckheads (Turzai/Scarnati) didn’t put their map to a vote or even show it to any Dems in the house or senate. They went out of their way to be partisan, in more than just the drawing of the map (which is another partisan gerrymander).

      There a PLENTY of fairly drawn non-partisan maps that don’t favor the Dems or GOP. The GOP keeps drawing deliberately partisan gerrymanders.

      1. Robert B Sklaroff, M.D. says:

        I believe it was written that the reason the Legislature didn’t pass anything was that it viewed its proposal as a basis for negotiation with the guv; it seems that the major criteria in the Opinion were satisfied, so they were probably willing to modify to meet gubernatorial postures.

        Today, there is still time for this to occur; if it doesn’t, then the outcome from the State-Supremes will be scrutinized as to whether it gerrymanders for Dems and, if so, the GOP will probably re-approach the Federal-Supremes … this time, armed with “potential damages” and, thus, Standing.

        The tight time-frame – now a fortnight shorter – would render a judicial battle a potential game-changer, for it is possible the DoS would determine that insufficient time would now exist for its interim procedures [challenges, involvement of Commonwealth Court, etc.] to play-out prior to when ballots would have to be finalized [e.g., mailed to absentees, confirmed on county-levels].

        It may be recalled that the Guzzardi-challenge of ’14 almost yielded “time-expired”; it would have blown the chronology if he had appealed to the Feds after the Commonwealth-Courts had played-out [with the Supremes overturning Commonwealth Court].

        Thus, this bifurcated petitioning paradigm may yield a return to the status-quo for this cycle; it is truly fascinating to envision the sudden-scramble if/when any fresh map emerges from the morass.

        1. Jack Dawson says:

          Hey David Diano,
          Anyone ever tell you you look like the fiddler in the Titanic movie?
          Take some violin lessons, go to State committee in June and play
          Your fiddle in the lobby of the hotel whilst the State Democratic Committee sinks further into irrelevance. Suggested song : Nearer my God to thee

      2. Tom Walker says:

        The legislature cannot abrogate its right to do anything. If the legislature does not pass a budget, the governor cannot unilaterally pass a budget. Thats not how any of this works

  3. pennpatriot49 says:

    This is just the first “shot-across-the-bow” by the Democrats! They’re doing the same thing is several other states with the same objective…more Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives! Not for one minute do I believe that either “Comrade” Wolf or the 5-2 Democratic State Supreme Court will draw a “fair” map! Does anyone else find the timing of this decision just a little bit curious? Next time Pennsylvania has elections for the State Supreme Court, think long and hard before you vote for a Democrat!

    1. David Diano says:

      pennpatriot49-

      Well, you are going to be VERY disappointed when court draws a fair map. They’ve picked an expert in maps who has fought against gerrymandering and for fair maps.

      So, fair maps are coming.

      1. Joe Paterno says:

        No, federal lawsuits and a blowback against the democrats are coming. Thanks liberals. You’ve screwed your party again.

      2. Joe says:

        And who is that so called “expert”?! Some Leftwing Hack who favors GERRYMANDERING for Democrats?!!

      3. pennpatriot49 says:

        If and when the State Supreme Court draws their map, the next thing to happen will be that the PAGOP goes straight to the U.S. Supreme Court where that map will be found unconstitutional! Why? Because the jurisdiction and responsibility to draw Congressional maps resides with……THE STATE LEGISLATURE! So here again, as far as the State Supreme Court goes, bring it on!

      4. pennpatriot49 says:

        @David Diano: Define “Fair”? I don’t think that’s in a Liberal’s vocabulary! #JustSayNoToDemocrats!

  4. Same Old Same Old says:

    King Scarnati and Wannabe Gov Turzai had a golden opportunity to chart Pa on a different course by putting forth a more fair congressional map and show respect for the PA Supreme Cout. Instead, as usual, the dynamic duo choose to be blinded by their authority and peevishness and put out another joke map to replace the last joke map. Let the Supreme Court of Pa be the people’s voice and make a map that really is fair and honors the sanctity of the vote. Meanwhile, all voters no matter what the party must insist on an independent commission to draw maps from this point on and take the power back from those drunk with power to the average voter where it belongs.

  5. Brett Heffner says:

    Who is most likely to unseat Tom Marino in the primary under this map? State Rep Steve Bloom from Cumberland County (most voters in the 10th.) Marino is vulnerable due to the 60 Minutes expose about his role in narcotics prescription.

    1. centPAdem says:

      Did you notice they put the screws to Doug McClinko by moving Bradford county to the 5th.

  6. Reasonable Rep says:

    I don’t want to include the link because it will get flagged at spam, but I encourage all to Google “538 Pennsylvania Redistricting.”

    Five Thirty Eight created a bunch of maps, each with different aims – gerrymandered for either party, maximize competitive districts, compactness both with/without regard for county borders, maximize minority-majority districts, etc.

    I think what you’ll find is, consistent with what’s been discussed on here, the clustering of Democratic voters in small areas makes it impossible to achieve a politically balanced delegation unless you gerrymander in favor of the Dems.

    If, as I believe, the goal should be compact districts while following county borders – without consideration to party registration – then the result is 9 GOP districts, 5 Dem districts and 4 toss ups (based on historical voting patterns since 2006).

    1. tommyd says:

      By definition, if you “achieve a politically balanced delegation” you are not gerrymandering.

      1. Reasonable Rep says:

        I disagree with your narrow definition of term, but I’ll revise:

        The clustering of Democratic voters in small areas makes it impossible to achieve a politically balanced delegation unless you throw out all regard for geographic compactness and draw a map that fails the “eye test” by a wider margin than anything the GOP ever drew (or would ever have to draw).

    2. revresbo says:

      You clearly did not follow the exhibits filed in the Supreme court case. Randomly drawn maps – 500 of them – using only non-partisan standards outlined in the opinion, show that the old map, and now this new one, are FAR from non-partisan. They also show how VERY easy it is to draw non-partisan maps. In only TWO PERCENT of those random maps would Republicans have a congressional majority ofONE seat.

      An yes, a court ALWAYS has the right to institute a fair and constitutional remedy when either of the other two branches act unconstitutionally – always.

      1. Reasonable Rep says:

        First, I didn’t say that either the current map or the newly proposed one were “non-partisan.”

        Second, I assume the exhibits to which you refer considered party registration, and not historical voting outcomes as the Five Thirty Eight project did. In any event, the disproportionate degree to which PA’s historically Democratic *voters* are clustered in a few areas (as compared to historically Republican voters) cannot be understated. Under these circumstances, “geographically compact map without splitting counties = split delegation or Dem majority delegation 98% of the time” is a laughable suggestion and cannot be taken seriously.

        Third – no – a state court does not ever have the right to institute a “fair and [state] constitutional remedy” when the remedy is explicitly at odds with the federal constitution. And before anyone brings up the Arizona Redistricting case, that holding is inapposite. There, controversially, the Court found it permissible that voters, through referendum, had specifically delegated the Legislature’s authority to an independent redistricting commission. Obviously, Pennsylvania has not specifically delegated this authority to its judiciary (an act which itself might even be questionable, since the judiciary is a co-equal branch of government and not an independent entity).

        1. flynnbw says:

          Then why didn’t Scarnati and Turzai adopt the FiveThirtyEight “ompact districts while following county borders” map? That still helps Republicans but would be a map that the Supreme Court would approve of. That they didn’t do anything close to that shows they were operating in bad faith.

    3. David Diano says:

      Reasonable Rep-

      I’m glad that you agree “compact districts while following county borders – without consideration to party registration”.

      I’m for a fair, non-partisan process. The deliberate gerrymandering to gain unfair advantages is simply wrong.

      1. Reasonable Rep says:

        Now if I could only get you on board with my belief that:

        – Partisan gerrymandering, while wrong, is not per se illegal or unconstitutional.

        – When legislators merely act wrongly, it’s incumbent on voters and not judges to impose accountability.

        – Partisan voters should have the intellectual honestly to hold gerrymanderers to the same standard, whether in your own tent or in the opposition.

        The Pittsburgh area Dems currently lambasting Mike Turzai and the GOP legislature…were they as critical of Wayne Fontana when he and his Dem colleagues badly gerrymandered the Allegheny County Council map 15 years ago?

        1. John H says:

          “Now if I could only get you on board with my belief that: Partisan gerrymandering, while wrong, is not per se illegal or unconstitutional.”

          The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.

          “When legislators merely act wrongly, it’s incumbent on voters and not judges to impose accountability.”

          Nice theory. The problem is the map has been so badly gerrymandered that it is almost impossible to vote out politicians who “act wrongly.”

  7. Rachel says:

    The congressional map was still a blatant attempt to disenfranchise urban voters, particularly in the greater Philadelphia area. Gov Wolf was right to reject it. If the state congress wanted their map accepted, they should have followed population and community boundaries in a logical, non-partisan manner which would have allowed Pennsylvania to be accurately represented at the national level. I am tired of my vote “not counting” because I live in a carve-out of Montgomery county which votes with 3 other unrelated communities, instead of with the community I actually live in. I sincerely hope that Gov Wolf represents ALL Pennsylvanians with a fair and truly non-partisan map that will stand the test of time.

    1. Who knows? says:

      They are allowed to be political in orientation. They are ALLOWED to be. Hence why the majority decides the lines. Gerrymandering isn’t illegal. It’s the freaking process!!!!!!

  8. Barricks Einwohner says:

    For one thing, to continue to lump the City of Reading and that small part of Berks County needed to connect to Lancaster County and the 16th is a blatant partisan attempt to save Costello. Reading should be included with most of the rest of Berks in the 6th District. Since 2002 Reading has been screwed around with to nullify that block of Democratic voters.

    1. Brett Heffner says:

      Actually, the 7-shaped district for the 6th district is safer for Costello. By including more Republican areas of Berks that previously went to other districts, Scarnati traded a stronger 7th for a stronger 6th.

      1. Barricks Einwohner says:

        Sure without Reading.

  9. truth hurts says:

    I can not wait to find out how the court is going to rule right to work and school choice is unconstitutional. You dems better work on your real problem
    WAGNER IS COMING ( i always wanted to type in caps)

  10. Worth Repeating says:

    There is no way the people are going to tolerate such a dictatorial power grab by Wolf. (not like he wasn’t already going to get his lame butt arse by Wagner). this might be more of a political death wish than when county commissioners do reassessments.

    1. Isaac L. says:

      Dictatorial? How about the power grab Turzai and Scarnati made by completely bypassing the legislature and submitting their own maps instead of having votes – you know, things the legislature is supposed to do?

      1. Who knows? says:

        Because they were given time to do that? Do you acknowledge the thin space of time provided by the court, setting them up for difficulty? This isn’t exactly a process that is constitutional either. Don’t apply the same rules to a game the supreme court and gov are making up as they go.

        1. tommyd says:

          They were given plenty of time, but frittered it away whining and complaining and refusing to cooperate and mounting an appeal they knew would lose. Not to mention blocking legislation so the LWV saw a suit as the only option left.

          1. Who knows? says:

            I am assuming you are referring to legislation proposed by fair districts? The legislation that does exactly what the Supreme court is doing now in overstepping their bounds and taking the legislature’s duty to draw district lines? Sounds like a real working starting point. And no, 3 weeks to get this stuff done with no decision by the court as to why they threw the maps out. You can’t fix something if you don’t know how it is broken. It is fair to complain about the previous maps, but it is dishonest to say this process in reigning in the maps was non partisan and fair. It’s been disgraceful.

  11. Militant Moderate says:

    So our governor is just going to dislodge duly elected Congressmen like Ryan Costello and Brian Fitzpatrick???? Burn in hell Tom Wolf.

    1. ThatguyBob says:

      You shouldn’t curse in this forum, you bleeping bleephole.

    2. Thank you Gov Wolf says:

      Shut up freak. We will have a fair map.

  12. Luke says:

    This can only get a little more fair. Anyway, it is not the court’s right to draw the map, it will be unconstitutional. They should rule on that. It is the duty of the legislature to make the maps.

    1. Chris says:

      They did draw the maps, but they didn’t do it within Constitutional grounds. The Court blatantly said to follow the state constitution, or we’ll do it for you. And that’s what happened.

      1. The Adult in the Room says:

        You’re wrong. What the GOP did was smart. They followed the Court’s opinion to a T. It was said earlier, but I will say it again, check out 538’s review of PA. That’s a heavily Democratic site and that site is far closer to what the GOP just submitted. It’s the fault of the Democrats that they can’t and won’t live anywhere other than with like-minded citizens in big cities. Unless you gerrymander the other way, there is no way to get what Wolf, Costa, and Dermody want. And the further they take that, the closer they get to actually violating the federal Constitution.

        1. truth hurts says:

          amen !!!! WIN AT THE BALLOT BOX (i really like this caps thing)

        2. tommyd says:

          “It’s the fault of the Democrats that they can’t and won’t live anywhere other than with like-minded citizens in big cities.” You really don’t understand how gerrymandering works, do you?

          1. Timmy T says:

            you dont understand that something like 70% of pa dems live in 3 counties

  13. Don Providence says:

    Can someone also reject resident Dem State Committee gadfly Cole Goodman for his suspiciously short tenure on Sesquhanna TWP school board?

    1. Isaac L. says:

      It sounds like you know something about his resignation and are implying it was for reasons other than his health, as he publicly stated. Care to share with the rest of the class?

      1. DauphinObserver says:

        Talk to anyone in Dauphin county politics about his activities around the high school and political events. His mommy Joyce Davis works for for Mayor Pappenpuss and killed the PennLive story about his actions.

        Known thief Rogette Harris has been covering for him. Someone please ask her why she got fired from the state house. Was it the ebay/Etsy business she was billing back to the taxpayers? Or was it her personal campaign work being done on state time.

        Dauphin Dems are rotten to the core.

Comments are closed.