Federal Judges Reject Lawsuit Over Pennsylvania District Map

Judges refuse GOP request to block new Pa. district boundaries

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The Supreme Court refused Monday to block a new election map for Pennsylvania that gives Democrats a chance to win four or more congressional seats in November.

In a separate action, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro-Tempore Joseph Scarnati had sought an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, which if granted would have kept the 2011 map in place for this year's election while they continued their appeal.

"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".

It's a double blow that increases the Democratic Party's chances of retaking control of the US House of Representatives in this fall's midterm elections.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month ruled that several of the state's districts are gerrymandered in favor of Republicans and violate the Keystone constitution.

Tuesday is filing day for candidates.

In both cases, Republicans argued only lawmakers have the power to draw voting districts.

Following a scheduling hearing on March 1, the panel of federal judges granted the eighteen individual state-court petitioners leave to intervene in the case.

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The Pennsylvania redistricting case is over.

For almost three weeks, the Supreme Court took no action on the final appeal from the Pennsylvania GOP.

Now that Pennsylvania's congressional district boundaries have been settled - albeit through an unfortunate, partisan-charged and messy process - and the gerrymandered congressional district maps of 2011 have been tossed to the trash heap of history where they belong, it is time for our state lawmakers to fix this the right way, and for good.

"Pennsylvania has always been one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation and that map contributed to the dysfunction in Washington", said Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, expected to be the party's nominee for the 6th District seat.

Republicans would also have a more hard time holding the seats of retiring Reps.

Writing for Roll Call, veteran analyst Stuart Rothenberg projected a 30- to 45-seat pickup for Democrats in November, well above the floor needed to retake the House. That controversy already was under review in the Supreme Court during the current term, in a case involving a claimed partisan gerrymander in the Wisconsin state legislature and a similar claim involving one House district in Maryland.

In their decision the judges - Circuit Judge Kent Jordan, District Judge Christopher Conner, and District Judge Jerome Simandle - said the plaintiffs didn't have standing to make the appeal so they declined to even consider the merits of their complaint.

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