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Pennsylvania GOP slams election-map ‘power grab’ as ‘judicial activism,’ will challenge

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Pennsylvania Republicans, egged on by President Trump, on Tuesday blasted a court decision to impose new congressional maps as a “power grab” by Democrats and vowed to challenge the move in federal court.

“This map constitutes a new standard for judicial activism,” Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Val DiGiorgio said in a statement. “This power grab is an affront to over 200 years of precedent and nothing short of judicial-mandering.”

The Democratic-majority state Supreme Court voted 4-3 on Monday to impose the new congressional district map it drew, seen as a boost for Democrats.

The map of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts is to be in effect for the May 15 primary and substantially overhauls a Republican-drawn map widely viewed as among the nation’s most gerrymandered.

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The revised congressional map submitted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Monday.

 (Pennsylvania Supreme Court)

The decision swiftly drew national attention on Monday. And on Tuesday, President Trump urged state Republicans to challenge it.

“Hope Republicans in the Great State of Pennsylvania challenge the new ‘pushed’ Congressional Map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Your Original was correct! Don’t let the Dems take elections away from you so that they can raise taxes & waste money!” he tweeted.

DiGiorgio said, “I expect we will be challenging this in federal court.” 

Further, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman said in a statement that “State and federal GOP officials will sue in federal court as soon as tomorrow” in a bid to block the new map, claiming it has “created chaos, confusion, and unnecessary expense.”

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Pennsylvania’s current congressional map, drawn in 2011.

 (Pennsylvania Supreme Court)

DiGiorgio also accused the court of causing “chaos” by drawing residents into new districts and candidates out of their old districts, while allegedly diluting GOP voters.

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, by acting as judge, executive and legislature has trampled on the concept of separation of powers and violated the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitution,” he said.

Democrats similarly have claimed Republicans were carefully drawing districts to favor their own, especially in Philadelphia’s suburbs.

There, Republicans have held seats in bizarrely contorted districts, including one labeled “Goofy Kicking Donald Duck.”

The court ruled last month that Republicans who redrew district boundaries in 2011 unconstitutionally put partisan interests above neutral line-drawing criteria. It was the first time any state court threw out congressional boundaries in a partisan gerrymandering case, this one brought by registered Democratic voters and the League of Women Voters last June.

The new map reunifies Democratic-heavy cities that had been split by Republican map drawers six years ago.

“It remedies the outrageous gerrymander of 2011, and that’s the important thing, that the gerrymander be over,” said David Landau, the Democratic Party chairman of Delaware County, site of the “Goofy Kicking Donald Duck” district. “All that zigging and zagging is all gone, and it makes Delaware County a competitive seat now.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had a Monday deadline to come up with a redistricting map.

Republicans have won 13 of the 18 congressional seats in the last three election cycles when the current, now invalidated, map took effect.

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf praised the court decision and said residents are “are sick and tired of gerrymandering.”

“Now, my focus will be on making sure the Department of State can support our counties and all candidates in the election process, particularly during the petition period. My administration will work expeditiously to update Department of State systems and ensure all processes are in place to assist candidates for Congress,” he said in a statement. 

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Michelle Chavez and Eric Strain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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National Trust should SAY SORRY: MPs demand funding cut after Winston Churchill smear

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AN INFLUENTIAL group of Conservative MPs has demanded that the Government cuts off funding to the National Trust until it apologises for “smearing the name” of Winston Churchill and other British heroes.

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Trump unveils ‘Platinum Plan’ in Atlanta to attempt to boost lagging Black voter support

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President Trump on Friday unveiled his so-called “Platinum Plan” at an event in Atlanta, which is aimed at investing $500 billion in Black communities.

Trump did not disclose how the plan would be funded but that it would boost lending to Black-owned businesses, reduce taxes, and also include education, healthcare, and criminal justice reforms. He also said the plan would make Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated by Black Americans that marks the end of slavery in the U.S., a national holiday.

He said that the plan would focus on the prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan and antifa as well as designating the groups as terrorist organizations, and make lynching a national hate crime.

“When I ran for president four years ago, I looked at the shameful record of the Democrat party, and asked black Americans, ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’” Trump told the crowd. “I want to share what you have to gain from voting Republican on November 3rd – the biggest election of our lives. For decades, Democrat politicians like Joe Biden have taken Black voters for granted.”

In Georgia, a reliably red state, Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are near-deadlocked, according to recent polling. A New York Times/Siena poll shows both men at 45 percent and a Monmouth poll shows Trump at 4 percent and Biden at 46 percent among all registered voters.

Trump has also struggled among Black voters, who favor Biden over Trump by an 80 percent-to-6 percent margin in a July NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Trump has long made overtures to the Black community as a candidate and as president but has a dearth of Black senior staff members in his administration.

Much of his plan has already been introduced as legislation or contradicted by his own officials.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is Biden’s running mate, has introduced legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday, as well as other lawmakers from both sides. Harris’ legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime has also been repeatedly stalled by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a staunch supporter of the president.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers earlier this month that antifa — short for “anti-fascists” — is an ideology, not an organization, which put him at odds with Trump, who has repeatedly said he would designate it a terror group. Also, following the murder of George Floyd, millions signed petitions to name the KKK a domestic terrorist group, but the plan has yet to bear fruit.

“In 2016, President Trump asked Black Americans ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’ The answer was everything,” Biden’s campaign said in a statement on Saturday. “President Trump has been in office for nearly 4 years and the results have been devastating for Black Americans. Trump lied about the danger of COVID-19 and failed to contain the virus and tens of thousands of Black Americans have lost their lives.”

“Now with 39 days to the election, Trump is making more empty promises,” the statement said. “Black voters won’t fall for it.”

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EU crisis erupts as Brussels' recovery hinges on UK – 'Bad time to fall out with us!'

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A LEADING MP has warned it is a “bad time for the EU to fall out with us” as the coronavirus-induced economic crisis takes its toll on the member-states of the Brussels’ bloc.

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