Lehigh Valley

Pennsylvania's congressional map drawn, but still not passed

Redistricting experts say Republican lawmakers may have drawn up a new congressional district map, but it's highly unlikely it will be put in place.

While lawmakers followed the Supreme Court mandate to make districts more compact and mindful of municipal and county borders, some say the map does not adequately level the political playing field.

"In looking at the 2016 presidential election results it does appear that it's about the same sort of parts and bias," said Brian Amos with the University of Florida.

Amos says the perceived Republican bias still exists with this latest map.

Professor Terry Madonna with Franklin and Marshall College says only in a few of the new districts do Democrats have a better chance at winning.

Those being the 7th district and the Lehigh Valley's 15th district.

Madonna says he is not sure the governor will turn this version of the map over to the Supreme Court.

Professor Chris Borick with Muhlenberg College says he believes the governor will strike a deal with Republican lawmakers and devise a compromise map.

"He does have some leverage and the leverage that the governor has is 'hey if I don't approve this it does go to the Supreme Court' and they might come up with a resolution that's even worse for Republicans," said Borick.

If lawmakers are unable to turn in a map by Feb. 15th, the Supreme Court will appoint a third party to make one.

Congressman Charlie Dent says he believes that will be the case.

He says it will be the first time the constitution has been changed by the courts instead of a vote by the people.

Borick says the courts have that power and there is little that can be done by legislators to stop it.

But he says going forward, lawmakers can change the constitution to spell out in greater detail how redistricting should be done.

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