They say you can’t get enough of a good thing. And that’s clearly true. “Say Yes to the Dress” episodes and hard liquor are two obvious examples (even better together!). However, one thing that has not been in the pantheon of things people always want more of is gerrymandering. Until now.
As everyone who isn’t in a coma, or has a social life knows, gerrymandering is the way politicians get re-elected despite their personalities and voting records. Every ten years, we draw the lines to make sure that all of our supporters are in our districts. We also make sure that all of those pesky people who, through some bizarre alchemy involving reading the news, oppose us, are in some other district which includes parts of the Pacific Ocean.
Sometimes this results in districts that look like Rorschach tests. But hey, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. In fact, some of the gerrymandered districts look like omelets.
Recently, the US Supreme Court said that political gerrymandering was fine. Universal mail-in ballots, not so much, but gerrymandering is as democratic as the Bejesus (an actual quote from Chief Justice Robert’s majority opinion, or not. I mean, what am I, a fact checking wizard?). So states are generally free to draw as many omelets as they wish.
However, up until now, Pennsylvania, known as the “Keystone State” or the “Home of Fracking Ooze”, reserved their gerrymandering for congressional and state legislative seats. But this week, we are firing up the ZOOM machine, getting dressed from the waste-up and voting on a proposed Constitutional Amendment to change the way we elect appellate judges from state-wide to by-district.
Here is the beauty part. The last time we voted on this, the districts were to be drawn by the Republican controlled legislature, without any input from the governor. Why is this being done? Because the Republicans in the House and Senate don’t like the fact that we have a Democratic-majority Supreme Court.
If this passes, it would basically guarantee a Republican Supreme Court majority until the end of time, or until Stephen Miller wins the Nobel Peace Prize, whichever comes second. There would basically be a Philadelphia district, a Pittsburgh district, and 5 Republican districts, for a 5–2 GOP majority on the court.
This idea, as Shakespeare would say, “sucks big time” (I don’t mean William Shakespeare. I mean Harvey Shakespeare, from Kensington). First, we shouldn’t be making laws to gain partisan advantage. We should only be making laws because we were given a lot of money to do so as its always been. And Judges are not supposed to “represent” areas. They are supposed to follow the law which says the same thing whether you read it in Erie or Allentown.
This proposal will ultimately go to the voters for approval. I hope it is soundly rejected. No party should use a temporary hold on power to pass laws perpetuating their power. That’s not what democracy looks like, in fact, it mocks democracy, which is not what we need right about now.