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Supreme Court upholds Pennsylvania election map in win for Democrats

Supreme Court upholds Pennsylvania election map in win for Democrats

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block the state's new congressional map. Political observers are anxiously awaiting word from Justice Samuel Alito about whether the court will take up the case and block the map's use for 2018. He added that as a voter the new map made him feel more comfortable that he is "voting in a place that will send members of Congress [who] accurately reflect who lives here".

The three judges on the case were Chief U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Judge Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and District Judge Jerome B. Simandle for the District of New Jersey.

Your Congressional district will change: A look at the Pa.

The Supreme Court case seemed to be state Republicans' last realistic chance to preserve the current map of 18 U.S. House districts; earlier Monday, a three-judge panel sitting in Harrisburg refused to issue a preliminary injunction in a separate suit filed by several of the state's incumbent Congressmen.

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the request without comment. Judge Christopher Conner and Judge Kent Jordan were chosen for the federal bench by President George W. Bush, while Judge Jerome Simandle was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

The previous map was drafted to aid Republican candidates and proved to be a campaign victor for them, leading the GOP to a 13-5 edge in the state's congressional delegation for all three elections in which it was used.




After lawmakers in the GOP-controlled General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf did not produce a replacement, the court enacted its own map last month and gave candidates extra time for petition gathering.

Pennsylvania traditionally is a purple state, and now has a legislature controlled by Republicans, a governor who is a Democrat and a USA senator from each party.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay that order on February 5.

There are few legal options left for Republicans in the state. "These are things that, on the present record, we can not do". Nor do the congressmen have proper standing, they said.

The denial of the latest application, like the denial of the earlier one, was unsurprising because the Pennsylvania court had based its rulings exclusively on the state Constitution.

The broader point here is two-fold: 1) This is a major win for Democrats hoping to retake the House majority this November and 2) If the Court ultimately decides that extreme partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, it will have a profound effect on how maps gets drawn - and who controls the House majority - in 2021 and beyond. The eight Republican congressmen, the judges wrote, may have wasted resources campaigning in their old districts, but they can not prove that was caused by a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause.

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