Supreme Court Just Denied GOP Request To Block Pennsylvania Gerrymandering Ruling
In a major defeat for the GOP, the Supreme Court on Monday denied Republican requests to block or reverse a Pennsylvania state court ruling requiring that the state’s congressional map be redrawn, increasing the likelihood that the map will be redrawn ahead of November’s midterms, The Hill reports.
A half-dozen House seats now held by Republicans seen as competitive in Pennsylvania, a fierce battleground state.
If the legislative map is redrawn in a way that is impartial, it could help Democrats in its drive to retake the House. Republicans currently control 12 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts, even as Democrats got more votes in the last election.
Justice Samuel Alito, the member of the court who hears emergency requests from states, denied the GOP efforts for a stay of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s January ruling that the state’s congressional map had been drawn in a way that unfairly favored Republicans.
Republicans argued in their request to Alito that the state Supreme Court usurped Pennsylvania’s legislative authority in tossing out the map.
“Redistricting involves lawmaking in its essential features and most important aspect,” the lawmakers wrote, quoting Supreme Court precedent. “But for the first time in United States history, a state court, in attempting to play the role of ‘lawmaker,’ has invalidated a congressional districting plan without identifying a violation of the U.S. Constitution or a state constitutional or statutory provision providing specific redistricting criteria.”
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s original ruling gave state lawmakers until Feb. 9 to submit a new map to Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who would then need to submit a plan to the court by Feb. 15. If they failed to meet that deadline, the court would redraw the map.
While it’s unclear how the districts will be redrawn, The Hill writes that Democrats are expected to benefit from new congressional lines. Democrats will need to flip 24 seats in order to take back the House.