GOP Leaders Say They’re ‘Outraged,’ Seek Stop To Gerrymandering Case
Top Republican lawmakers say they are outraged by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to strike down the boundaries of the state's 18 congressional districts and will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt it.
Pennsylvania's top two Republican state senators, Joe Scarnati and Jake Corman, said Monday in a joint statement that the state court's decision oversteps its legal authority. They say they'll petition the U.S. Supreme Court this week to halt the decision.
"Today’s ruling by the State Supreme Court is a partisan action showing a distinct lack of respect for the Constitution and the legislative process. The PA Supreme Court has overstepped its legal authority and set up an impossible deadline that will only introduce chaos in the upcoming Congressional election. The Court had this case since November 9, 2017 – giving it over 10 weeks to reach this decision. Yet, it has elected to give the legislature 19 days to redraw and adopt the Congressional Districts. With matters the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in the past, it afforded the General Assembly four months to make corrections. It is clear that with this ruling the Court is attempting to bypass the Constitution and the legislative process and legislate themselves, directly from the bench. We will be filing an application with the United States Supreme Court this week to request a stay."
They also say the state court has set up an impossible deadline of Feb. 9 to redraw the map and that will introduce chaos in the upcoming congressional election.
In an interview with KDKA Radio Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf said he backed the court's decision. He said it was an opportunity to draw a fair map, not a gerrymandered map that favors Democrats.
Democratic voters sued last summer, contending that Pennsylvania's congressional boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans.
The state's congressional delegation is controlled by Republicans, 13-5, even though registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republicans.
*This story was updated at 10:26 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 to add comment from Gov. Tom Wolf.