Supreme Court refuses to stop new congressional maps in Pennsylvania

Nathaniel Persily

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. Under that old map, Republicans won the same 13 out of 18 seats in every race since it was enacted. It said it had no authority to act in the matter except to dismiss the case.

College senior Gabe Solomon was in favor of the Supreme Court decision, and explained that he thought the new map was more fair and representational of "Pennsylvania's political identity".

About 90 minutes later, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt what could be a final blow to the republican lawmaker efforts.

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

"Their latest stay application is just another ploy to preserve congressional districts that violate Pennsylvania's Constitution for one more election cycle", said a brief for the League of Women Voters, adding, "It would be unprecedented for this Court to interfere with the state court's determination about its own state's law".

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

Still, in the world of real politics, the Pennsylvania Department of State and most candidates have already started taking real steps toward a primary based on the new maps.




A redrawn congressional map will likely govern congressional elections this year in Pennsylvania after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a Republican request to block new district boundaries.

The courts rejected requests to throw out or halt use of the map imposed last month by the state Supreme Court, which had ruled that a 2011 GOP-crafted district map violated the state constitution's guarantee of free and equal elections.

The Pennsylvania redistricting case is over. "These are things that, on the present record, we can not do".

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 Plaintiffs are neither the Pennsylvania General Assembly nor a group to which Pennsylvania has delegated the Commonwealth's lawmaking power", the judges wrote.

In statements, Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania said they were disappointed by the rulings but reiterated their belief that the state Supreme Court had usurped the legislature's role. That appeal could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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