Letter to the editor: Barletta against fair districts
I would like to remind voters that U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, who is challenging Bob Casey for the U.S. Senate, attempted to defy a state Supreme Court decision that finally established fair geographic boundaries for congressional districts in Pennsylvania.
I joined the League of Women Voters and 17 other Pennsylvanians in a challenge to Pennsylvania’s unfairly gerrymandered districts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the districts based on the Pennsylvania Constitution providing for “free and equal” elections. The State GOP leadership appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the appeal was rejected. As a result, the new map was adopted.
In an effort to undermine voters and defy the state’s right to create congressional districts, Barletta appealed to a federal court to force Pennsylvania to return to the same gerrymandered map the state courts had rejected. That court denied the appeal by Barletta, resulting in fair district boundaries for the congressional election in November. The lawsuits by Barletta and the Republican leadership of the state Legislature cost taxpayers over $1.5 million.
Our lawsuit was about returning power to the voters through fairly drawn and competitive districts. Barletta’s challenge was not about serving his constituents or the citizens of Pennsylvania, but what would be best for Barletta and his party. This is not the behavior we should reward by sending him to the Senate so he can further degrade the institution through partisan stunts.