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Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to New Congressional Map

By William Vogeler, Esq. on March 21, 2018 11:55 AM

When a judge says 'no' the first time, what do lawyers often do?

It's no joke: they ask again. That's basically what happened in the latest gerrymandering case to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The High Court rejected a petition to stop a new congressional district plan in Pennsylvania -- again. Somehow the petitioners didn't get the message the first time.

Foregone Conclusion

Justice Samuel Alito last month declined a request from Pennsylvania's Republican leaders, who wanted to overturn a state supreme court decision requiring them to redraw a congressional map. The Democrats cheered because it meant they had a chance to gain four seats in Congress.

With nowhere else to go, the politicians' lawyers asked the en banc U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider. The judges did, and the petitioners got the same answer. The respondents, who had sued over the gerrymandered districts, cheered again.

"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," said Gov. Tom Wolf, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania.

Under the state supreme court ruling, the Pennsylvania legislature had three weeks to draw a new map or the court would make one. The politicians couldn't do it, so the judges did.


The new map opens up the possibility that Democrats could seize a majority in the U.S. House. Media reports called it a "huge" loss for Republicans.

In Pennsylvania, however, the politicians haven't given up. A dozen GOP lawmakers filed legislation to impeach four state supreme court justices who ruled against them. That would be the Democrats on the court, except for one who wrote separately.

Justice Max Baer aligned with the dissenters, two Republican appointees, who said the majority was imposing an illegal standard on the legislature to redraw the district.

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