Judge: Use 2001 Map for 2012 Election

Federal Judge nixes challenge to Pa. redistricting maps

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC10.com
    2012 Pa. General Assembly election to be based on 2001 maps after redistricting court challenge.

    A federal judge has ruled that Pennsylvania's 2001 legislative district maps should be used in this year's elections after the state Supreme Court rejected a new redistricting plan.

    Senior U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick says the election cycle is too far along to wait for a new plan to be developed and approved.

    Surrick doesn't want to postpone the April 24 primary because it could deprive Pennsylvanians of the right to vote in the presidential primary.

    He has upheld a state Supreme Court plan to use the 2001 legislative map.

    The ruling Monday is a setback for Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, Latino groups and others.

    They sought to block the use of the 2001 maps, citing significant population shifts over the past decade that will risk disproportionate representation.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated the 2012 legislative district maps, handing down an 87 page majority opinion saying many of the map configurations were “not absolutely necessary.” The court was also critical of some districts for not being sufficiently compact, likening one Senate district to a wishbone, another to a crooked finger, and a third to an iron cross. But there was no guidance in the ruling about to achieve an acceptable redrawing of district boundaries.

    Justice Joan Orie Melvin, a Republican whose sister holds an Allegheny County state Senate seat, wrote a dissenting opinion and concluding “it is clear that there is no perfect plan.”

    The latest ruling could still cause confusion for candidates already collecting petition signatures. That process was delayed by two days by the court challenge, so the filing deadline for General Assembly candidates only, is Feb. 16, instead of the Feb. 14 deadline for other Pa. and national office seekers.