Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Double defeat for challenge to new Congressional map

Double defeat for challenge to new Congressional map

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday rejected a request from Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers to throw out a new congressional district map drawn by the state's highest court.

In the federal court case, the judges, wrote: "We hold that the federal Elections Clause violations that the Plaintiffs allege are not the Plaintiffs' to assert".

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the Republican-drawn map in January, saying it was a partisan gerrymander that violated the state constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked that ruling while it considers complaints from Wisconsin and Maryland that could result in a landmark ruling on partisan gerrymandering this spring.

The new map, which now nearly certainly will be the lines under which candidates will run in 2018, also handed Democrats a series of opportunities including at least three seats in southeastern Pennsylvania and several more improved opportunities in places like Allentown and southwestern Pennsylvania.

The state's Republican legislative leaders had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the map, while eight Republican Congress members and two Republican state lawmakers separately filed a federal lawsuit in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, seeking the same remedy.

"The issues presented in this case touch on questions of high importance to our republican form of government". After the Legislature and governor failed to reach an agreement on how to create a map that would satisfy the state Supreme Court's guidelines, the state justices released their own plan.

The Supreme Court appeal was filed by February 27 the Republican leaders of the state House and Senate.The legal disputes are lingering even as candidates are in the final stages of collecting petitions to get on the ballot for the May 15 primary.

In both cases, Republicans argued only lawmakers have the power to draw voting districts. Instead, the GOP won 13 out of 18 elections, which would normally require 72% of the vote.

The U.S. Supreme Court's latest action refusing to block the new map came one day before the filing deadline for the May 15 primary. Top leaders in the state House and Senate, without taking a vote in their chambers, submitted one map to Wolf, which he rejected. The argument that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stepped on the legislature's rights should be brought by the General Assembly as an institution, they wrote. "These are things that, on the present record, we can not do".

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