Supreme Court dismisses GOP challenge of Pennsylvania voting map

21 March, 2018, 08:01 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Court Rulings End GOP Efforts to Block Voting Map for Pennsylvania

Republicans lost two last-ditch court challenges to a new Pennsylvania congressional voting map, ensuring that Democrats will get to run in more favorable districts in the state as they try to take the U.S. House in November.

The department began taking steps to implement the remedial map on February 19, as soon as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released it.

Monday afternoon, republican lawmakers looking to stop the new map received a "double dose" of defeat. The state is projected to lose one congressional seat in that remapping. This time Alito referred the request to the full court, but the justices did not act for almost three weeks; when they finally did take action this afternoon, they issued only a terse one-sentence order, without any recorded dissents. That controversy already was under review in the Supreme Court during the current term, in a case involving a claimed partisan gerrymander in the Wisconsin state legislature and a similar claim involving one House district in Maryland.

For U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., this has meant a reshaping of his district.

"The plaintiffs invite us to opine on the appropriate balance of power between the Commonwealth's legislature and judiciary in redistricting matters, and then to pass judgment on the propriety of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's actions under the United States Constitution", the judges wrote.

The May 15 primary election is quickly approaching. They have received encouragement from President Donald Trump, who tweeted last month that they should challenge the new map "all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary". "Don't let the Dems take elections away from you so that they can raise taxes & waste money!"

It's more bad news for Republicans.

But in the past, the Supreme Court had written opinions joined by Scalia and Thomas saying the states and their judges, not federal courts, should play the lead role in redrawing election districts. Pat Meehan and Charlie Dent under the new maps. The final version made Democrats significantly more competitive. The new map also splits Philadelphia into two districts instead of the previous three. Neither of those alternatives appeared to have much chance of succeeding, partly because of the way the Supreme Court rebuffed the request to block the state court's map. After noting that the federal congressman asserted an injury based on potentially wasted campaign resources, the court found that, "a$3 t bottom, the Federal Congressional Plaintiffs‟ injuries are traceable only to the court‟s decision to invalidate the 2011 Map and its mandate that a new map be adopted - acts that the Plaintiffs concede are "undoubtedly" within the state court's authority". Democrats will control six, assuming that Conor Lamb's victory in the 18th district special election stands.

Both Costello and Houlahan said they would file nominating petitions in the new district on Tuesday.


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