Challenges Begin to Mount to Final LRC Map Plan

PA Judicial Center

As the countdown continues to the oral arguments at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over the state’s House and Senate maps, the list of challenges to the final plan grows.

Under the Keystone State’s Constitution, any person can bring a challenge to either map to the high court no later than Monday, March 7. As of yesterday, four separate challenges have been filed.

A trio of Butler County residents, including potential legislative candidate Ryan Covert,  have challenged how the state House map divides their home county. The December preliminary map drew Butler County into three state representative districts, while the final map approved four districts (8, 11, 12, 17) for the county of nearly 194,000.

State senator Lisa Bascola (D-Northampton) is objecting to the way her home district was divided. The Lehigh Valley is currently represented by three Senate seats: the 16th (Lehigh County), the 18th (Lehigh and Northampton counties) and the 40th (Northampton and Monroe counties) and has no splits of municipalities or cities. The final plan brought part of a new 14th District into the area, while also splitting the cities of Allentown and South Whitehall Township and the two largest school districts in the region.

Todd Elliott Koger claims that he was drawn out of his 24th State House district to knowingly benefit Martell Covington, an aide to Senator Jay Costa, in an upcoming April 5 special election. Costa was one of five members on the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC).

Finally, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre), who has been a vocal opponent of the LRC, its decisions and its maps, wants the Supreme Court to toss the maps out. He contends that the final plan fails to comply with the PA Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

After Monday’s deadline, the LRC will have a few days to respond to the suits. After the briefs are filed, the high court will decide if it chooses to consider the challenges.

5 Responses

  1. With the House map, the Borough of State College should not be split in two and both pieces put with very rural areas. This is Republican gerrymandering. Also, the city of Reading should not be split into three districts. This is Dem gerrymandering. The Senate map is quite fair.

  2. GOP complaint/argument boils down to:

    Waaahhh! The map is too fair.

    Expect the court to recognize this.

    1. Local government splits should be minimized and major geographical features like rivers and mountain ranges out to be recognized. This house map either does this or doesn’t.

      1. The big question is which plan is the Court going to adapt because that is the one that will stick.

    2. What a laughable bunch of arguments from the same GOP that completely Gerrymandered PA ten years ago to build huge majorities in both chambers. Sadly, those in power will do anything to stay in power. Don’t get me wrong, the current map is far from flawless, but at least it isn’t an obvious power play like Mike Turdzai claiming adopting Voter ID would win Mitt Romney Pennsylvania.

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