U.S. Supreme Court throws out state GOP lawsuit over Pennsylvania’s district map

Update, 3:35 p.m.: The U.S. Supreme Court is keeping in place a revised map of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts, turning down a request from Republican leaders in the state Legislature, according to the Associated Press.

The court’s order Monday declining to put on hold the revised map comes as incumbents and potential challengers are circulating petitions to get on the May primary ballot.

The court is declining to halt a series of decisions by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that threw out a 2011 Republican-crafted map and established a new map of the state’s 18 districts.

Pennsylvania’s 2011 map is generally considered among the most gerrymandered in the nation, and Democrats hope new district lines will boost their chances of reclaiming majority control of the U.S. House.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf released the following statement on both decisions allowing the new congressional map to stay in place:

“I applaud these decisions that will allow the upcoming election to move forward with the new and fair congressional maps. The people of Pennsylvania are tired of gerrymandering and the new map corrects past mistakes that created unfair Congressional Districts and attempted to diminish the impact of citizens’ votes.

“I want to thank every citizen who spoke out in favor of fair maps and against partisan gerrymandering. Now, Pennsylvania must move forward and work together to enact nonpartisan redistricting reforms.

“The Department of State has been working proactively to oversee an orderly transition to the new congressional map and will continue to assist counties, voters, and candidates through this process to ensure we have a smooth election in May.”

PA House Speaker Mike Turzai also issued a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order:

“We are in receipt of the U.S. Supreme Court’s one-line order denying our application for an emergency stay of the congressional map drawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

“We continue to believe that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overstepped its authority in an unprecedented fashion when it legislated from the bench, by adding new requirements for drawing congressional districts which do not exist either in the Pennsylvania Constitution or the U.S. Constitution, and by drawing its own map.

“Nonetheless, we respect the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court and are prepared to move on to other issues of importance to the people of Pennsylvania.”

Original Story: 

HARRISBURG — A federal court has ruled against Republicans challenging a redrawn Pennsylvania congressional district map that will take effect in time for the state’s May primary.

The ruling comes after eight Republican state lawmakers in the state attempted to block the new map, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court got rid of after determining its congressional districts were drawn to unfairly benefit Republicans.

A separate case brought by other GOP leaders in the state house and Senate is still pending before the US Supreme Court.

Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature challenged the new maps in federal court. The US Supreme Court previously refused to hear a challenge to the state high court’s ruling that the previous maps were drawn in a way that violated the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The new maps appear more compact and suburban than the existing district boundaries and an alternative that state legislative Republicans had submitted — and one of those districts is now made up of just Montgomery County, a Democratic stronghold that the GOP had proposed dividing heavily.

Bloomberg earlier reported the ruling.