Pa. Supreme Court to offer new congressional map in gerrymandering saga. Here's what to expect.
When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court releases its new map today, don't expect it to end the nasty political and legal fight that's broken out in recent weeks.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is set to release a new congressional district map on Monday, after weeks of political and legal fighting following its ruling that the map adopted in 2011 was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
But whatever the map looks like, don't expect it to end the battle.
Republican lawmakers have vowed to resist the court's order, saying they will seek a federal challenge to whatever map is selected.
"This issue has grown bigger than the map," Drew Crompton, chief of staff to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) and top attorney for Senate Republicans said last week. "I don't know what the court's going to do, I really don't. But it's not like we're planning a lawsuit only if certain things happen — we don't know what's going to happen. We're working on every sort of gyration."
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre) said Republicans would likely seek an injunction in federal court.
It would continue a nasty fight that has only intensified in the weeks since state high court last month ruled the congressional map unconstitutional and ordered a new one drawn in time for the primary election in May. Republicans immediately attacked the justices as partisan and accused the court of overstepping its bounds.
Scarnati and House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) have made several attempts to block the court's ruling, including a request that the U.S. Supreme Court intervene, which Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. denied. They also attacked a state Supreme Court justice as biased in an attempt to get him disqualified; the justice declined to recuse himself, saying he had not crossed any lines. Scarnati has refused to comply with court orders to share data intended to help the justices draw a map, and a rank-and-file Republican lawmaker is seeking cosponsors to sign onto an attempt to impeach the court's Democratic justices.
As those fights raged, the deadline loomed: The state Supreme Court had given the Republican-controlled legislature less than three weeks to draw a new map and send it to Wolf, a Democrat. Pennsylvania's congressional map is normally enacted as legislation, going through the normal process of passing through the legislature and being signed by the governor. When it became clear the legislature had run out of time, Scarnati and Turzai drew their own map and sent it directly to Wolf.