Supreme Court rejects petition on Pennsylvania voting map

Supreme Court rejects petition on Pennsylvania voting map

By Geoff West   
U.S. Supreme Court (File photo by Danielle Wilde)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request by Pennsylvania Republicans to invalidate the state’s court-drawn congressional districts ahead of November’s midterm election. 

Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional district map, which was drawn and adopted by a Republican-controlled legislature in 2011, was politically gerrymandered to limit Democrats from gaining seats in state and federal elections.

Republican Mike Turzai, speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and gubernatorial candidate, filed the petition to the Supreme Court. (Mike Turzai for Governor [“Friends of Mike Turzai”]/Wikimedia Commons)
The court later redrew the state’s voting map after Pennsylvania’s legislature and Democratic governor couldn’t agree on an alternative map with different boundaries.

Two statehouse Republicans, House of Representatives Speaker Michael Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, filed Monday’s petition. They argued the state supreme court had “no authority” to usurp the legislature’s right to draw its own congressional districts. Electoral maps are drawn by state legislatures every decade following the results of a new Census.

Joe Scarnati, the Pennsylvania State Senate’s president pro tempore, filed the petition along with Mike Turzai.

Opponents of partisan gerrymandering had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would weigh in on the constitutionality of the practice in a Wisconsin case earlier this year. The court heard oral arguments but declined to offer a ruling.

The court rejected the petition brought by the Pennsylvania Republicans but gave no reason for its decision. In March, however, the court denied a similar attempt to void the state’s voting map ahead of its May 15 primaries.

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