Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Pennsylvania, Chairman discussed on On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts
This is on point and Meghna trucker. Bardy. We're broadcasting today from the studios of WHYY in Pennsylvania because we're talking about gerrymandering and Pennsylvania's adventures in redistricting and really what effort or what impact that's had on Pennsylvania politics on representation here in the keystone state and what impact it could have as the discussion about gerrymandering and redistricting is taken to the national level. I'm joined here today by Lindy Lazar ski. She's a multimedia journalist for WHYY and also for keystone crosswords immediate nonprofit. That's really focused on the state's political challenges. We're also joined by Terry Madonna, he's a professor of public affairs and the director of the center for politics and public affairs at Franklin and Marshall college as well. Now, Lindsay and Terry, I just wanna play a little bit of tape for you because we were talking about at the very beginning of the conversation how Pennsylvania's gerrymandered districts were struck down in January of this year by the state supreme court. And this weekend we actually caught up with Valentino degeorge oh, he's the chairman of the Republican party for the state of Pennsylvania and he's previously called in. I've seen this in your reporting. Lindsay heath call. He called the January twenty eighteen ruling a hyper partisan decision by an activist judicial bench, and he followed that up with us this weekend. And here's what he said. There's nothing in the Pennsylvania constitution, which says the maps have to be fair, whatever fair means to these judges took upon themselves to say, fairness means, you know what we think it means and they drew in the process. What was what one analyst called the Democrats dream map. So it was. It was just that a. It was just take an unconstitutional taking a power by the supreme court. This Valentino degeorge. Oh, the chairman of the Pennsylvania GOP. No, Lindsey, Lazar ski. Let me just get some impressions here from you because first of all, when did Georgia talks about this new map that the state supreme court drew? They didn't necessarily want to have to do that. They want. They sent it back to the legislature to draw a new map, but that didn't work out. Yes. So the time line here was it was pretty much a crunch so around January. Well, on January twenty. Second, the decision came down that the two thousand eleven map deprived Pennsylvania voters of the right to free and equal elections and basically gave Republicans and unfair advantage and deluded. The Democrats votes, and basically they gave about a month in between that time to come up with a new map, so they kicked it back to the legislatures said, okay, guys, you know, give us your best shot that didn't happen. And we saw these. These contingencies of different groups handing in maps and just to those Republican controlled legislature, but Pennsylvania has democratic governor. Now they were supposed to agree on a new map, the couldn't, yes. The governor was supposed to approve the math that the legislature came up with. It didn't happen. Didn't happen the first of all the legislature didn't do it. The legislative leaders did it. It was never passed by the general assembly in the form of a law which is what is required and the supreme court. In all fairness to both sides is supreme court, did not give the legislature. I think adequate time they come up with a map even if the legislature could have come up with a map when when and they went back to this clause in the constitution known as free and equal, which had never been applied in that way before I'm not suggesting what the court did was wrong, a merely suggesting that they went back into the eighteenth century for the original. The constitution defined it there. You both about that because you know we've course had other cases that have worked their way through the federal system to the United States Supreme court, but Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvanians who brought this case deliberately chose not to do that because they saw the Pennsylvania state constitution has having stronger voter protections that even the US constitution, but but tears indicating here that, but this was a novel read Olympic constitution. Well, I think you also have to look at the makeup of the Pennsylvania supreme court. There are five Democrats on the court and to Republicans on the court. So we also see this change in the makeup of the Pennsylvania supreme court..