Courts Striking Down Republicans' Comically Illegal Electoral Maps, *FOR NOW*

You know the expression "bears make money, and bulls make money, and pigs get slaughtered"? Well if Republicans hadn't been such greedy little pigs with their electoral maps, they'd probably have been better off. As it is, state courts in North Carolina and Pennsylvania imposed fair electoral maps yesterday, while all hell is breaking loose in Florida as Governor Ron DeSantis's maximalist gambit blows up in his face.


Pennsylvania

Let's start in Pennsylvania, where Democratic Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the map produced in January by the Republican legislature. This kicked the decision up to the Supreme Court, on which liberals outnumber conservatives 5-2. Yesterday, that court approved a map submitted by Democratic groups, likely making the GOP eat the seat the state is losing due to relative population decline — which makes sense in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans.

The new map breaks down into eight Trump districts and nine Clinton/Biden districts, causing Republican State Rep. Seth Grove, the GOP's point person on elections, to grouse to the Philadelphia Inquirer that the court's decision was "nothing but a partisan ploy in a process that should be free of political bias.” But, as the paper points out, four of the districts could reasonably be classified as toss-ups.

“I could see a GOP 10-7 ratio after November,” admitted Republican strategist Chris Nicholas.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, a state which is also evenly divided, the state's highest court imposed its own maps yesterday, rejecting a Republican plan which would have given them a possible 10 of 14 US House seats. The new map has six safe congressional seats for either party, with two swing districts.

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore described the plan to the Raleigh News & Observer as "egregious," but Democrats weren't happy either, because the court greenlit a state Senate map that is wildly favorable to the GOP. That map was approved by the Senate itself on a party-line vote.

“Today’s decision allows a blatantly unfair and unconstitutional state Senate map that may have been the worst of the bunch,” complained Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.

Okay, Florida Man, whatcha got?

Ron DeSantis is bringing the crazy!

See, in 2010, the state passed a constitutional amendment mandating fair districts. But now Republicans control the whole state, and they find that whole business highly inconvenient. The state Senate approved basically fair maps on a bipartisan basis, and the House wanted to target specific Democrats, but not go hog wild. But then Governor Wrecking Ball weighed in, submitting his own map that was comically, hilariously illegal.

Perhaps in an effort to bail out the national GOP, which failed to implement aggressive gerrymanders nationwide, DeSantis is insisting on a map that decimates multiple minority districts in ways that clearly violate both Florida law and the tattered remains of the Voting Rights Act. Seriously, Marc Elias could send an associate and get the thing struck down by lunchtime. This is preposterous.

DeSantis raced to the state's highest court in hopes of getting his monstrous baby baptized, only to find himself rejected. But his gambit gave the state's Democrats time to get in gear and now everyone is trying to catch everyone else violating the law by using race to draw the maps — which, of course, everyone is.

So, well played, Ron!

So, is that the end of it?

Well, probably.

During the 2020 election litigation, the Supreme Court made some noises about elections being the exclusive province of state legislatures. (That's partly where these Republican assholes got the idea that they could send the electors back to the states and have them recast their Electoral College votes for Trump.) And Republicans have thrown a Hail Mary pass to federal courts asking them to rule that it's UNLEGAL for state judges to throw out electoral maps based on the state constitution or state law.

It's highly unlikely to work, but it's a thing that's out there.

[Inquirer / News & Observer / NBC]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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