Pennsylvania’s top two Republican lawmakers filed an appeal Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a ruling that the state’s congressional boundaries constituted a partisan gerrymander and ordered them redrawn. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) and House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny), who twice were rebuffed by the court in seeking emergency requests to stop the redrawing of the maps pending appeal, now are asking the nation’s highest court to take up the case itself and rule on its merits. Their request comes as a deadline looms for passing legislation to change the way the state draws its election lines in time for the next re-mapping in 2021.
The court does not have to take up the case; of the thousands of requests filed each year asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, the success rate is in the single digits.
Scarnati and Turzai contend the state Supreme Court’s January decision seized legislative power to run elections and draw electoral maps. The court declared the 2011 map had been unconstitutionally drawn to favor Republicans and dilute Democratic votes. That move sparked a nasty legal and political fight that has also elicited talk of impeachment and accusations of partisanship and bad faith from all sides of the political spectrum.