Philadelphia Inquirer: About that court ruling that could change the face of Pennsylvania politics | John Baer
The thing about change? Especially in places not used to it? If it comes, it comes quickly. Like a lightning bolt.
Like the state Supreme Court ruling this week that Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are overly partisan, unconstitutional, and need to be redrawn right now.
[ . . . ]
But why do we have this ruling? Because, of course, of politics.
Because back in 2015, three Democrats (Philly’s Kevin Dougherty, Pittsburgh’s David Wecht, Pittsburgh’s Christine Donohue), mostly with money from labor and lawyers, way outspent GOP opponents in the nation’s costliest Supreme Court race and won three seats on the state’s high court, flipping it from R to D.
Just like that. And when that now-Democratic court voted to throw out the Republican maps, it voted along party lines.
Within an hour of the ruling, a national Democratic campaign consultant called solely to say this: “Elections have consequences.”
They do, indeed.
And some could reach beyond the state. For if there’s a Democratic wave in this year’s midterm elections, Pennsylvania becomes critical to any hope Democrats may have of capturing the U.S. House.
Also, an ancillary issue that might get steam from all this? Merit selection of statewide judges.
In Pennsylvania, one of only seven states electing judges at all levels, the issue of a merit system has hung around for years as a good-government initiative, sometimes inertly, sometimes charged up by one judicial scandal or another.
Well, political gain is a great motivator.
Speaking with GOP state chief Val DiGiorgio, I suggest Republicans might now have new fire for pushing judicial merit appointments.
He smiled and flashed a thumb up.
I shared this with Groen. Groen groaned: “Oh, yeah, now they’ll become good-government people.”
Just think. The possibility of two reforms — fairer districts and merit selection – coming at once.
Read the whole article at the Inquirer.
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