I wish I could say I was surprised, but in its editorial last week regarding congressional redistricting, the Inquirer Editorial Board yet again carries water for the Democratic Party. What is surprising, however, is how wrong it is on some key facts.
First, the editorial incorrectly claims that “before the Republican-control legislature drew maps in 2011, the party held seven seats to the Democrats' 12.” This is false. 2010 was a banner year for the GOP in Pennsylvania and across the country. Riding a wave of Obama fatigue and discontentment with the lackluster economy and Obamacare, our Pennsylvania Republican candidates defeated four incumbent Democrats and took one open Democratic seat. Thus, when redistricting occurred, we already held a 12-7 advantage. The GOP then picked up one additional seat in 2012 after the 2011 redistricting. Interestingly, it took until 2017 for liberals to go to court to ask for an emergency order.
Also, the Editorial Board stated that “the highest court in the land upheld a Jan. 22 state Supreme Court ruling ordering the legislature to hand in new maps by Friday to reduce the partisan gerrymandering that’s robbed Democrats, giving them only five of the state’s 18 seats — though voting is split almost evenly between the parties.” Robbed? Nonsense.
In fact, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. merely denied the stay requested by Republicans, but did not rule on or address the fairness or constitutionality of the current legislative lines.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is now a hyper-partisan court of judicial activists, has decided, in an effort to give Democrats an upper hand, to overturn and ignore the over 200 years of precedent, and the findings of its own fact-finder, Commonwealth Court Judge P. Kevin Brobson. Welcome to the new world of “judicial-mandering.”
In the present case, the court’s decision attempts to bolster the false narrative that Republicans have been winning in congressional seats across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because they have gamed the system. By going to the courts to overturn the will of the legislature, the left is doing what it has always done, attempting to win judicially that which it cannot win at the ballot box.
The fact of the matter is that when you cluster hundreds of thousands of Democrats into congressional seats in the city of Philadelphia and Allegheny County, the remainder of the seats are, by and large, Republican.
Rule of law and separation of powers are the cornerstones of our republic and our success as a society. In fact, these important concepts separate us from much of the rest of the world. When I review the Supreme Court’s order and its blatant usurpation of the legislature’s authority, I am concerned not as a Republican, but as a lawyer, a student of history, and an American who understands how vital these concepts are to our freedoms.
Democrat or Republican, we should all be troubled by a court that takes upon itself the power of the legislature. Our constitution, our republic, and our freedoms demand better.
Val DiGiorgio is chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party.
Note: A correction on the number of Republican representatives in 2010 appeared Friday.