GOP asks Supreme Court to block new Pennsylvania congressional maps

Pennsylvania Republicans are asking the US Supreme Court to block new congressional maps that would tilt several key ...

Posted: Feb 28, 2018 9:39 AM
Updated: Feb 28, 2018 9:39 AM

Pennsylvania Republicans are asking the US Supreme Court to block new congressional maps that would tilt several key races in Democrats' favor from being used in this year's midterm elections.

The GOP leaders of the state House and Senate asked Tuesday for an emergency stay blocking the implementation of the maps, which were unveiled this month by the state Supreme Court after it ruled that the previous maps had been gerrymandered in violation of Pennsylvania's Constitution.

It's a final effort to stop major changes to a congressional delegation that now comprises 13 Republican-held seats and five Democrats.

Lawyers for House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati argue that the state's high court overstepped its authority in setting a deadline for lawmakers to draw new maps -- and then, when the GOP-led Legislature missed that deadline, producing new maps on its own.

In court papers, their lawyers said the state court's move "blatantly usurps the power of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and inflicts confusion on the Commonwealth's upcoming congressional elections."

"Not only did the Pennsylvania Supreme Court violate the Elections Clause by adopting new congressional districting criteria from whole cloth, but also by implementing a remedial phase that did not give the General Assembly an 'adequate opportunity' to enact a new map," they argued.

National Republicans and Democrats are paying close attention to the Pennsylvania developments.

The new map drawn by the state Supreme Court would mean more historically Democratic electorates in three seats in the suburbs of Philadelphia, including one region largely represented by Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and another represented in part by GOP Rep. Ryan Costello.

Republicans would also have a more difficult time holding the seats of retiring Reps. Pat Meehan and Charlie Dent under the new maps. Other districts -- including one west of Pittsburgh -- could become newly competitive.

President Donald Trump had urged the state Republicans to appeal.

"Hope Republicans in the Great State of Pennsylvania challenge the new 'pushed' Congressional Map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary," Trump 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 Supreme Court previously refused to step into the Pennsylvania case, and election law experts believe the latest filing with the Supreme Court is a long shot.

"Because this was a case decided under the state constitution by the state supreme court, the usual path for review of this case by the US Supreme Court is limited," wrote Richard L. Hasen, an elections law expert at the University of California, Irvine.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
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Lee258567
Jones239978
Forrest238270
Washington217471
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Pike120948
Monroe118365
Scott116125
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George74413
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Chickasaw65224
Tippah64216
Attala64125
Walthall59325
Clay57117
Hancock56121
Jasper54915
Noxubee54315
Clarke53539
Smith52114
Calhoun50612
Tunica47913
Montgomery45420
Claiborne45116
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41614
Perry40617
Humphreys37315
Quitman3735
Stone35011
Greene34317
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32511
Amite31210
Carroll31212
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2399
Benton2181
Franklin1893
Choctaw1785
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18911337
Mobile13039289
Montgomery8628173
Madison750775
Tuscaloosa7180114
Lee570559
Shelby564550
Baldwin504749
Marshall382143
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Houston269922
Elmore251947
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Walker220780
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Limestone197319
Cullman183017
Franklin174128
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Russell17112
Autauga167324
Lauderdale164133
Colbert159326
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Blount154214
Jackson149411
Chilton147127
Dale132743
Covington130227
Coffee12708
Pike11519
Tallapoosa113183
Chambers112342
Clarke104917
Marion93728
Butler90838
Barbour8307
Marengo69919
Winston69912
Lowndes64527
Pickens63114
Bibb62810
Hale61228
Randolph60712
Bullock58514
Lawrence58220
Monroe5758
Geneva5634
Cherokee55516
Washington54413
Perry5376
Clay5367
Wilcox53011
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52231
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Henry4674
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Sumter41819
Lamar3452
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3206
Greene30015
Coosa1613
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