Pennsylvania Redistricting Lawsuit


U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Intervene in Pa. Redistricting Lawsuit

Today the U.S. Supreme Court rejected requests from Pennsylvania’s legislative leaders and a group of Republican voters to stay the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Order in the redistricting lawsuit striking down the state’s congressional map: League of Women Voters, et al., v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. Supreme Court Justice Alito independently denied their Emergency Applications.

“This was always a Pennsylvania state court case about Pennsylvania’s Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court rightly refused the Republican Legislative leaders’ attempt to manufacture a federal issue,” said R. Stanton Jones, a partner at Arnold & Porter. “Pennsylvania voters will now get to cast their ballots in fair elections this year.”

“Pennsylvania’s legislative leaders should stop desperately attempting to hold onto this unconstitutional map, and get to work adopting a new map,” said Mimi McKenzie, Legal Director of the Public Interest Law Center, also representing the petitioners in the lawsuit. “This filing with the U.S. Supreme Court is one of several last ditch gambits by the legislators. We are confident that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will similarly deny the legislators’ latest application to disqualify Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices.”

Last Friday, the legislative respondents’ filed an application seeking the disqualification of Justice Wecht and demanding additional disclosure by Justice Donohue with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Petitioners filed their answer to this application this morning. Justice Donohue has already denied the application with respect to any disclosures by her.

Filed in June in the state’s Commonwealth Court, this lawsuit alleged the current U.S. Congressional map violates the Pennsylvania Constitution because it was designed to override voter preferences and create a lopsided, 13-5 majority in favor of Republican congressional representatives. In November 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction over the lawsuit by lifting a stay and granting the petitioners’ Application for Extraordinary Relief. In December, under order from the Supreme Court, the Commonwealth Court held expedited trial and issued Recommended Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. After hearing oral argument in January 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the map unconstitutional and ordered the state legislative leaders and Governor to create a new map in time for the 2018 election.

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