Liveblogging The Fourth Seat Hearings

I’m at the legislature this morning enjoying the quality facilities and wi-fi in the joint redistricting committee hearing.

The committee is adopting principles to guide the redistricting.

So far it’s nothing you haven’t heard but two minor things have transpired that are not exactly right,

  • The committee has agreed that partisan political data is not to be included in the official record or committee discussions. This is not a Supreme Court guideline as the committee counsel suggested. In fact, the Supreme Court has refused to strike down even the Pennsylvania plan of 2002 and the Texas plan of 2003 which the Court identified as abusively partisan. Justice Kennedy, a swing vote on this issue, did say that it was possible that at some time in the future an even more abusive plan could possibly, maybe be bad enough to strike down.
  • The committee adopted a guideline that districts be within one-half percent in total population. Counsel suggested this would be acceptably equal. That would be a deviation of about 2,700 citizens. In 2002 federal courts in Pennsylvania ruled that a deviation of 19 citizens was unconstitutional and ordered the legislature to remap the districts to make them closer in population.
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