Judge says she will rule on map of congressional districts soon – CBS Pittsburgh
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania judge who recently led a hearing on more than a dozen competing proposals for a redesigned map of the state’s congressional districts told the state Supreme Court on Tuesday that his decision would be ready in a few days – if they didn’t take him off the case.
The one-paragraph statement by Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough was part of a flurry of filings in the closely watched case on Tuesday. Democrats urged the Democratic-majority high court to take over, while Republicans said the judge, also a Republican, should be allowed to make a decision that can then be appealed.
The Supreme Court put McCullough’s case on hold Monday while it considers whether to exercise its authority over the process.
McCullough said his decision and opinion will be ready by Friday and will include changes to the timeline for candidates to circulate nomination petitions — a three-week process that would otherwise begin Feb. 15.
McCullough is sifting through competing proposals for a new map because Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a set of congressional districts produced by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
New congressional districts must account for the loss of a single seat due to Pennsylvania’s relatively slow population growth. The state congressional delegation is reduced from 18 to 17 members.
In their filing, Republican legislative leaders warned that “reversing course deep into the 11th hour of these proceedings, and assuming extraordinary jurisdiction of this case at this point, will not expedite the case” and that McCullough created a factual record and reviewed “extensive scientific and lay evidence.
Wolf argued that Supreme Court intervention now is the quickest route to a final map and said the justices were in a better position to make changes to election timeline deadlines.
The governor’s filing also noted that the Legislative Redistribution Commission‘s work on reshuffling General Assembly district lines was not complete, although the five-member panel could vote at a meeting scheduled for Friday. in Harrisburg. Appeals of their decision could take more than a month.
The primary is currently set for May 17 but could be delayed if legislative maps are not finalized in time.
The State Department said election officials need two to three weeks to prepare for the start of the nomination petition circulation period, so candidates are sufficiently briefed on their new precinct boundaries. If the primary is to be delayed, the agency said, the new date should apply to both the legislative races and Congress.
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