Supreme Court turns down GOP request to block Pennsylvania congressional map

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The state court then imposed the new map, drawn with the help of an outside expert, after the Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic governor couldn't agree on a new set of districts by a February 9 deadline.

Republicans challenged the ruling saying the constitution gives lawmakers the job of drawing districts, not courts.

A panel of federal judges on Monday dismissed a legal challenge by Republican congressmen to a district map imposed last month by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The earlier map has been a campaign victor for Republicans, leading them to a 13-5 edge in the state's congressional delegation for all three elections in which it was used. "The people of Pennsylvania are exhausted of gerrymandering and the new map corrects past mistakes that created unfair Congressional Districts and attempted to diminish the impact of citizens' votes", Gov. Tom Wolf said. "These are things that, on the present record, we can not do".


The state Supreme Court then imposed a new map that many outside experts said still gave Republicans an edge but created more competitive districts and some more districts that are expected to favor Democrats.

In his 2005 essay 'When Judges Carve Democracies, ' Persily called maps drawn up by courts a "last resort" and an "emergency measur [e]".

In a separate case, two senior Republicans in the state Legislature who were on the losing end of the state Supreme Court decision have a pending request before the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a stay, which would result in the use of the 2011 map for this year's congressional elections in Pennsylvania.

The state Supreme Court, in a 4-3 split, set one deadline for the legislature to submit a new map for consideration and another deadline for Democratic Gov. Wolf to review it.


After the governor - now a Democrat - and the still-Republican state legislature deadlocked on a new map, the state Supreme Court drew one that made districts in the state far more compact and contiguous. Six incumbents, five of them Republicans, have said they will not be on the fall ballot. They want the new map put on hold while they pursue an appeal to the nation's highest court.

The state's Republican filed a final Hail Mary with the U.S. Supreme Court, and it lost.

The denial of the latest application, like the denial of the earlier one, was unsurprising because the Pennsylvania court had based its rulings exclusively on the state Constitution. Yes, we hoped that our legislative and executive branches could work in harmony for a new map however in that absence a map was drawn for the citizens to exercise their vote and representation in Congress.

"If the ice cream's melting on the dot, you have Justice Alito considering the...request", Chief U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner said during the hearing.


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