Justices won't block new congressional maps in Pennsylvania

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At the time, Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, said that the state Supreme Court's majority and Wolf had colluded in redrawing the state's congressional district map, targeting him in particular to turn his district in favor of Houlahan, of Easttown.

On Monday, Alito, a Republican, who was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush, shot down a request by GOP legislative leaders in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to stay a new congressional map set to take effect for the spring primary and this November's general election. "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".

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.

Despite the state's demonstrated Democratic lean (President Donald Trump was the first Republican to carry the state at the presidential level since George H.W. Bush in 1988), the map usually advantaged the GOP. Even a modest gain of seats in Pennsylvania could be a significant factor in helping the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives, if recent election results favorable to Democrats continue this fall. The state Supreme Court ruled in January 5-2, along party lines, that congressional districts drawn in 2011 were so lopsided to benefit Republicans that they violated the guarantee of free and equal elections.

Supreme Court justices are elected in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday is the deadline to file for the May 15 primary ballot.

According to the Washington Post, the case "suggests a new mode of attack" in partisan gerrymandering cases that uses state constitutions to challenge voting maps.

Second, the Pennsylvania case gives voter reform groups a potential roadmap to challenge gerrymandering in their own states.

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"We still believe these issues in this case are vital constitutional questions that deserve to be heard, including the PA Supreme Court taking on the role of creating legislation".

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

Under the new map, which was issued last month, Democrats have a good chance of picking up three seats in the Philadelphia suburbs. They want the new map put on hold while they pursue an appeal to the nation's highest court.

Earlier Monday in a separate case, a three-judge panel also ruled ruled against eight state Republican lawmakers.

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.

Many Democrats have said both Lamb's projected victory and the court decision increase the party's chances of turning the Pennsylvania's congressional delegation majority-blue.

In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans, attorneys for the League of Women Voters argued, and the state Supreme Court agreed, that the imbalance was due to illegal gerrymandering.

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