Court Rulings End GOP Efforts to Block Voting Map for Pennsylvania

A look into what former Penn prof's redrawn PA district lines mean for Penn
New Pa. congressional district map upheld for now as federal judges dismiss Republican lawsuit
Author

20 March, 2018

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. "These are things that, on the present record, we can not do".

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the request without comment.

Under the map that was tossed out earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, only five of the state's 18 congressional districts are represented by Democrats - despite the fact that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the swing state.

"The issues presented in this case touch on questions of high importance to our republican form of government". Additionally, he said that creating congressional districts is the "stuff of the legislative, not the judicial, process".

The updated map has major ramifications for Penn, as students and faculty will now cast their votes in the 3rd Congressional District instead of the 2nd. All were appointed by Republican presidents and confirmed with bipartisan Senate support.

President Trump weighed in on Twitter on February 20, urging Pennsylvania Republicans to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

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. Under that old map, Republicans won the same 13 out of 18 seats in every race since it was enacted.

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Today's Supreme Court Ruling was a victory for Pennsylvania voters who will now be able to cast ballots for congressional candidates in districts not unconstitutionally manipulated to make them uncompetitive.

The new map lines could have an impact on the makeup of the 2019 Congress, with Democrats hopeful that they could pick up at least a few more seats in Pennsylvania.

In the federal lawsuit, though, the Republican lawmakers did not have standing, the federal judges said.

For Democrats, the Supreme Court order is good news on top of good news.

"The Plaintiffs are neither the Pennsylvania General Assembly nor a group to which Pennsylvania has delegated the Commonwealth's lawmaking power", the judges wrote. The new map was handed down by the court last month. These challenges are not expected to get very far and Persily's congressional district map is expected to be implemented for the midterm elections.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never thrown out a state's redistricting plan because it has found it so infected with partisan bias that it violates voters' constitutional rights.

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". That argument did not appear to gain traction with Justice Alito. That appeal could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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