PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The battle continues over Pennsylvania’s Congressional redistricting. Republican Speaker of the House Mike Turzai is leading the challenge of the newly-drawn map.
This week, Speaker Turzai and Senate Pro Tem President Joe Scarnati filed an emergency application for a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court. They say the PA Supreme Court overstepped its bounds when it drew up the new map. They want U.S. Supreme court put a hold on the PA Supreme Court’s decision invalidating the existing Congressional map. They are arguing what the PA Supreme Court did was unconstitutional. They say it violates the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The clause empowers the states to determine the times, places and manner of congressional elections, subject to Congress’s authority to make or alter state regulations. Essentially, Turzai and Scarnati are saying that the members of the judicial branch overstepped their bounds when they drew up the new map.
“Keep in mind these maps passed in 2011, this map. It has now been in the elections for 2012, 2014, and 2016. Why is it being changed right now? Because people want to stop the agenda of the Republican Congressional majorities and the President. It is completely unconstitutional,” said Speaker Turzai. “Keep in mind, at least one of the Justices in the PA Supreme Court campaigned on overturning the Congressional Map before he was a Justice. And yet they made a 5 to 2 political decision. Five democrats to two republicans to invalidate the map and they put in their own map, which is a partisan map. It is designed to make sure we elect more democrats than republicans. It’s not fair.”
Democrats suggest there’s desperation in the strident Republican rhetoric. Congressman Mike Doyle, of Pittsburgh, says Republicans sound unhinged.
There are parallel cases going on. On Friday, a three-judge panel declined to hold up implementing the new map. However, the three federal judges set a date for arguments on the matter. It will be March 9 in Harrisburg.
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