Panicked lawmaker wants judges impeached for ending GOP election rigging


Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello is desperate to keep his seat.

Rep. Ryan Costello, a Republican congressman in Pennsylvania, is so terrified by the new, fairer congressional map that he wants the state justices removed from office.

In a panic over his election odds, Costello is claiming the new map came from "a politically corrupted process instituted by a highly partisan state Supreme Court which has now put itself squarely in line for a very valid impeachment."

House Republicans suffered a massive blow when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled their rigged congressional map illegal.

This week, the state justices handed down a new map that will wipe out GOP gerrymandering in the state, and possibly decide control of the entire House of Representatives.

Costello's suggestion is not new. The idea of impeaching Pennsylvania's 5-2 Democratic majority on the high court was also floated in a memo by GOP state Rep. Chris Dush.

The assertion the new map is "highly partisan" is flatly wrong. And politicians trying to fire judges for rulings they don't like, let alone a ruling on electoral fairness, is wildly inappropriate in a democracy with a separation of powers.

But Costello's panic reveals how he is badly hurt by this decision.

Even before this ruling, Costello, who represents the 6th Congressional District just west of Philadelphia, was already the most vulnerable GOP incumbent in the Keystone State. He has been facing vocal criticism from constituents over his blind opposition to an independent Russia investigation, and a crowded field of Democrats vying to take him on.

The court-mandated district map makes his chances even worse. The new 6th District cuts out rural, conservative Lebanon County, and adds more of moderate Chester County and the solidly blue city of Reading. Hillary Clinton carried the old 6th District by 1 point; she would have carried the new one by 9 points.

As a result, election forecasters have moved Costello's race from Lean Republican to Toss-up.

Throughout this decade, Republicans have rigged district lines to maintain their House majority, whether the people vote for a GOP House or not. Pennsylvania had one of the worst partisan gerrymanders in the country, with Democratic candidates winning 51 percent of the popular vote in 2012 but Republicans taking 13 out of 18 House seats.

Costello's plight is the latest step in the rebirth of true representative democracy. This year, incumbents who thought they were locked into power suddenly have to face a real, fair election. And so far, they are not faring well.