Supreme Court rejects GOP gerrymandering, boosting Democrats' midterm chances


A major defeat for Pennsylvania Republicans just increased Democrats’ chances of retaking the House.

Democrats in Pennsylvania got more good news ahead of the midterm elections on Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the state Supreme Court's recent ruling that Pennsylvania's congressional districts must be immediately redrawn in a fairer manner.

Last month, Pennsylvania's top court ruled that the congressional map drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 "clearly, plainly and palpably violates" the commonwealth’s Constitution, and demanded a quick redrawing of the lines so that 2018 elections could be held using more common-sense looking districts.

The GOP went to court, arguing there was no rush and that the drawing should be delayed until after the 2018 cycle.

But on Monday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, whose jurisdiction for emergency requests includes Pennsylvania, denied the request, without comment.

Pennsylvania is shaping up to be among the key battleground states as Republicans desperately try to hang onto their majority in the House.

Democrats need to flip 24 seats to gain control of the House. According to the Cook Political Report, of the 62 Republican-held districts currently deemed to be "competitive" in November, 25 are located in California, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

And that's why for Republicans, Monday's ruling couldn't have come at a worse time, and it couldn't have come in a more vulnerable state.

Election experts predict that when the news districts are redrawn this spring and the GOP's extreme gerrymandering blueprint gets torn up, Democrats could pick up between one and six seats in the state come November.

For the last decade in particular, Republicans have leaned heavily on a radical form of district drawing in order to maintain power.

Democrats vastly outnumber registered Republicans in the Keystone state, yet Republicans enjoy control of 13 of the state's 18 Congressional seats. And a lot of that is because of radical gerrymandering.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has become personally invested in a Pennsylvania special election set for March 2018. The White House is scrambling to make sure GOP candidate Rick Saccone fends off a young Democratic challenger, Conor Lamb, a Marine Corps veterans, in the 18th Congressional District.

That election is to replace former GOP incumbent Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned last year after the extreme conservative was caught urging his mistress to get an abortion just days after pushing an abortion ban through the House.

More recently, the career of Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Pat Meehan imploded when it was revealed he used taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim made by a former, much younger aide who claimed the Congressman had pursued her romantically and then turned on her when she entered a relationship with another man.

Meehan announced two weeks ago that he's not running for re-election.

"Without Meehan on the ballot, his suburban 7th District seat would likely be a nightmare for the GOP to hold in a special election or in November, based on the current enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans and circumstances surrounding this particular vacancy," Roll Call reported.

For Democrats in Pennsylvania, the news keeps getting better.