On Wednesday, after a chaotic process that lasted nearly 30 months, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled to approve revised legislative redistricting maps for the State Legislature.
While the now-approved versions may be a slight improvement over the gerrymandered maps first adopted in December of 2011 – and thrown out by the Supreme Court six weeks later – they still split many municipalities and are a blatantly political attempt to protect vulnerable Republican incumbents and to pit incumbent Democratic lawmakers against one another in primary showdowns.
“Ultimately, this is about making sure that certain lawmakers are not held accountable to their constituents for supporting legislation that undermines middle class workers” said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale. “By using redistricting to prevent any serious political challenges, the integrity of our Democracy is significantly blemished.”
In what can only be considered a glaring indictment of our current redistricting process, the Supreme Court, in their majority decision, defended the right of the party in power to use redistricting to their political advantage. Their decision read, in part, “The Costa appellants’ complaints concerning perceived partisan motivations have no relevance to redistricting… political parties may seek partisan advantage to their proverbial heart’s content, so long as they do so within the constraints of [the Constitution].”
“The agenda that this administration is pursuing is far outside the mainstream” added Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder. “While the courts have ruled that the reapportionment committee can use partisan redistricting tricks to save their allies from the judgment of the voters, we will continue to do everything we can to fight for the working people of Pennsylvania, and to hold accountable those legislators who pursue a radical agenda to undermine workers’ rights.”
In the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of articles detailing some of the more noteworthy changes to look for in the 2014 House and Senate maps, and how these changes are likely to impact working families.