Pennsylvania to use the 2000 Census for redistricting: WHY?
Pennsylvanians are apparently living like its 1999. Here’s what the Courthouse News Service had to say:
In January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said a 2011 redistricting plan establishing new districts based on fresh data from the 2010 census was unconstitutional.
That plan, proposed by the state’s five-person Legislative Reapportionment Commission, failed to adequately balance constitutional requirements that districts be compact, contiguous and roughly equal in population.
Of particular concern to the high court was a fourth requirement: that voting districts do not excessively fracture political subdivisions.
The state constitution says voting districts should divide counties, wards and municipalities only when absolutely necessary.
A group of 20 state senators who appealed the 2011 plan offered an alternative redistricting plan that, the group said, does a better job balancing these requirements, particularly when it comes to respecting the integrity of subdivisions.
In a 4-3 decision last month, the court called that plan “powerful evidence” that the commission could have done a better job balancing these factors, and remanded the plan to the commission for revision.
While the revisions are pending, the court directed Pennsylvania to govern its upcoming April 24 primary election with the 2001 redistricting plan, based on census data from 2000.
That directive prompted three federal lawsuits in late January and early February.
The plaintiffs – which include the majority leaders of the state Senate and House, the House speaker, and a Latino rights group – said it would be unconstitutional to use the old districts.