Nobody knows exactly what to make of Republican Chief Justice Ronald Castille joining the Democrats on the state Supreme Court and throwing out the new district lines for the state House and Senate (P-G story here).
Democrats are gleeful and saying they'll run in old districts (like a Senate seat in the Mon Valley and Chelsa Wagner's old House seat in the South Hills) that Republicans extermined; the GOP seems to think things will settle down and those districts will still move after some tweaks.
PoliticsPa notes the Supremes better explain themselves fast -- three of the seven justices, including Castille, are set to fly to Puerto Rico for some kind of Pa Bar event.
God knows what, if anything, the ruling has to do with the possible charges facing Justice Joan Orie Melvin for politicking in her judicial offices. The Inquirer's Tom Infield went over the issue yesterday. In related news, the judge overseeing the corruption case of Melvin's sisters Jane and Janine wants to know how many letters the state Rep recently sent to constituents (with her own money) on the case.
Statements after the jump from Jay Costa and Chelsa Wagner
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills:
“We are pleased to learn that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the many petitioners who filed an appeal to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s final plan. We are grateful that the Supreme Court honored Pennsylvania’s Constitution and Commonwealth voters. It is a very important matter, and it is the responsibility of the reapportionment commission to devise a plan that is true to both the Constitution and the voters of Pennsylvania. Counties and communities must have their voices heard in Harrisburg, and our goal was to make sure that the 2011 redistricting process achieved that.
We are thankful that the Court and the many petitioners understood the concerns of the voters who took the time and effort to express their concerns to both the Commission and ultimately the Court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court acted with respect for the Constitution, communities across our commonwealth, and the voters.
We await the state Supreme Court’s direction regarding drafting a new reapportionment plan for the commonwealth.”
Former 22nd District Rep. and current Allegheny County controller Chelsa Wagner:
Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner applauded the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to reject the state legislative reapportionment plan previously approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. Under the rejected plan, the 22nd Legislative District which Wagner represented until earlier this month would have moved to Lehigh County and been split among five different House districts. She advocated strongly against the rejected plan prior to its approval by the Commission.
"I'm pleased that a plan that was unfair to many communities and most especially some of those I represented for five years will not take effect," Wagner said. "Tactics such as splitting single neighborhoods into three districts would disenfranchise these communities."
Wagner served concurrently in the House for two weeks after taking office as County Controller on January 2 in order to ensure her constituents would continue to be served and to work with the representatives slated to take over parts of her district on the transition.
"The Commission was wrong to approve this plan and must now come up with one that won't harm our communities," she said.