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View Diary: Pennsylvania Legislative Redistricting: Chaos (50 comments)

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  •  I think not setting guidelines (1+ / 0-)
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    is a problem.  Maps have to be drawn and when the legislature has its maps thrown out and doesn't fully know why and doesn't know what to do to remedy it, there are problems.  The Court basically sends them off onto a snipe hunt where they draw a new map and hope it works out for the best.  

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    by SoCalLiberal on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:12:52 PM PST

    •  they've been given explanations for why their (3+ / 0-)
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      SoCalLiberal, Lujane, Englishlefty

      maps sucked.

      I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

      by James Allen on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 03:03:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know what the court would say, right? (2+ / 0-)
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      SoCalLiberal, Englishlefty

      You're asking for an advisory opinion!

      What really irritates me is when the go part way--like they did here.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 03:07:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah I get it (1+ / 0-)
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        Of course, some state courts are allowed to give advisory opinions.  Not sure if Pennsylvania is one of them.  

        I think setting down guidelines though is not neccesarily an advisory opinion.  You're setting down what the rules are (as you interpret them to be) and setting out what they need to be.  You're also setting down rules in response to an actual case and controversy before you.  The plaintiffs say the map is unconstitutional. You agree.  I don't think you're giving out an advisory opinion to say "Here's why this is unconstitutional.  Btw, here's what would be constitutional."

        Not setting out guidelines seems like a way to avoid added difficulty in a decision, not a way of avoiding an advisory opinion.  

        Off topic to this diary (but somewhat related), why are Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak not running for Congress again?  PA-8 is now on the DCCC's Red to Blue list (I can't think of a better candidate than Murphy).  Sestak failed to win statewide but only very narrowly and in a terrible year for the Democrats.  Even with his district redrawn to be more Republican, would it be so much of a stretch for him to come back?  PA was already gerrymandered so Republican in 2001, it's hard to see how the legislature could draw the map to be more Republican (well in eastern PA).  

        House will be close in November.  I'd hate to see us come up a few seats shy because of some of these Dem candidates who wait till the last minute to decide they're not running or retiring from seats where we need to find good recruits.  

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        by SoCalLiberal on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 03:51:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, (4+ / 0-)
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          Adam B, Lujane, SoCalLiberal, Englishlefty

          I actually don't know whether PA courts can issue advisory opinions either, but I agree that in this case it does not make a tremendous difference. The problem is that the court didn't really do a "here's what would be constitutional" section. They did suggest that a plan proposed by one of the plaintiffs would be, but they refused to set up an explicit test for future plans.

          And I suppose I'm sympathetic to a court being unwilling to do so. For one thing, that makes more work for lawyers! ;) But for another, there's a jurisprudentially trend of courts just not being willing to even give a hint of deciding future cases. Nobody wants to be buttoned down. And in a sense, it's really not the court's job to write a technical manual for the LRC. Though really, as I said above, I wish the court had given just a little bit more.

          As for Murphy and Sestak, in order: Murphy is running for AG, and IMO he has the inside track. That's no small thing; a Dem hasn't held the office since it's been elected separately. As for Sestak, I can't say for sure. I would speculate that it's because they made his district way too difficult to win again. I believe he lost against Toomey pretty substantially on the new lines.  

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 04:00:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  this is an unusual area of the law (4+ / 0-)

          The cases only come up once every ten years.  During oral argument, counsel for the LRC said he was relying on 40 years of precedent; the Chief Justice replied (I'm paraphrasing), "Isn't it really four, when you think about it?")

          So the Court does give some advice here.

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