Congressional map: Best outcome is a redrawing for 2020

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck down the state’s congressional map, ruling that it was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans.

The state’s Supreme Court is heavily Democratic. The maps were drawn up by a Republican majority in 2011. The court did not say in its ruling what exactly is unconstitutional about the map, which, by the way, was originally approved with Democratic votes and ruled constitutional by the same court.

So it’s hard to view the ruling as completely void of political undertones.

But that doesn’t change the fact that congressional boundaries are supposed to make logical sense. And in the areas where that is not true, there should be changes.

To that end, the state Senate’s top Republican lawyer said GOP leaders will do everything they can to comply with the ruling.

The problem is the belated timing of the ruling as it relates to the 2018 Congressional elections and the chaos it might create. There are 14 sitting members of Congress and dozens of other people planning to run in districts in which they may no longer live. The deadline to file paperwork to run in primaries is March 6.

In fairness to candidates representing both major political parties, it would have been so much easier to apply the ruling to the 2018 election had it been made three or four months ago.

Running for political office is not a snap-the-fingers exercise. It takes planning, organization and detail work in whatever district is being contested. There may be more unfair advantages and disadvantages attached to the belated ruling than there were with the existing Congressional maps.

One Democratic justice, Max Baer, warned of chaos from the ruling and argued it would be better to put a new map in place in 2020.

We think that would be the most logical outcome and hope the court is considering such a procedure.

Change the map if it makes no logical sense, but take a year to get it right and prevent chaos in the upcoming election.

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