U.S. Supreme Court Denies Pennsylvania Republicans’ Request to Strike Down New Congressional Map


Updated 3/20/18 4:49 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to issue an injunction blocking a congressional map put into effect by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month largely seen as a boon to democrats. The High Court issued a one sentence response: “The application for stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” it read. There were no dissents.

Pennsylvania’s State Supreme Court redrew the state’s district map last month ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The Court had said that it would redraw the state’s congressional districts if the state legislature and the governor could not agree on one themselves.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in January that the State’s map had to be redrawn because it was drawn in a way that heavily favored Republicans. It gave lawmakers until February 9 to submit a new map to Governor Tom Wolf, who is a Democrat.

Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania asked the U.S. Supreme Court to give them more time in redrawing the districts. They also challenged the lower court’s decision that the Republican-drawn districts were unconstitutional.

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The request to stay the lower court’s decision went before Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito who oversees the circuit that includes Pennsylvania, the 3rd. Alito rejected the request without referring it to the whole Court last month.

Republicans once again appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that the Pennsylvania Court lacked the authority to redraw congressional districts map – an authority granted to state legislatures and governors.

Legal experts had believed that the path for Pennsylvania Republicans through the U.S. Supreme Court was a long shot though, considering the High Court usually considers cases like these state issues.

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

The new map is considered by many to be giving Democrats the potential to pick up two congressional seats over the old one.

Pennsylvania Democrats praised the decision.  “I am glad to hear the new 2018 District maps imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will be used. It is encouraging to see the Court reject the Republicans challenge to the new maps,” U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania’s 2nd District said in a statement to ITN.

“I voted against the current map when I was in the Pennsylvania State Legislature because I didn’t think it was fair then, just as I don’t think it is fair now,” he added.

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