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Federal Court Rules against GOP Challenge to New District Map

Federal Court Rules against GOP Challenge to New District Map”

Keith Rothfus, whose seat is now in jeopardy under the new map.

"I want to thank every citizen who spoke out in favor of fair maps and against partisan gerrymandering. The Plaintiffs' frustration with the process by which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court implemented its own redistricting map is plain", the judges said.

The Supreme Court case seemed to be state Republicans' last realistic chance to preserve the current map of 18 U.S. House districts; earlier Monday, a three-judge panel sitting in Harrisburg refused to issue a preliminary injunction in a separate suit filed by several of the state's incumbent Congressmen.

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A federal court has ruled against Republicans challenging a redrawn Pennsylvania congressional district map that will take effect in time for the state's May primary.

The previous map was drafted to aid Republican candidates and proved to be a campaign victor for them, leading the GOP to a 13-5 edge in the state's congressional delegation for all three elections in which it was used.

A group of 18 Democratic voters sued in state court previous year to challenge the 2011 map, a case the state Supreme Court put on a fast track before throwing out the former district lines.

The U.S. Supreme Court's latest action refusing to block the new map came one day before the filing deadline for the May 15 primary.

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Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. turned down the state's first request on February 5, after the state supreme court ordered a new map. It's more bad news for Republicans. "As far as we can tell on this record, the Elections Clause claims asserted in the verified complaint belong, if they belong to anyone, only to the Pennsylvania General Assembly". The eight Republican congressmen, the judges wrote, may have wasted resources campaigning in their old districts, but they can not prove that was caused by a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause.

"When a court is compelled to draw lines, relying on a special master or an expert to do so, it should remind legislatures that they have the opportunity to do so if they can come to an agreement", Goldfeder said.

With Monday's rulings, however, it appeared that the effort was unsuccessful and that the new map would control the 2018 elections - furthering Democratic hopes of retaking the House this fall. That appeal could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today's Supreme Court Ruling was a victory for Pennsylvania voters who will now be able to cast ballots for congressional candidates in districts not unconstitutionally manipulated to make them uncompetitive.

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