Pennsylvania Senate Leader Rejects Court Order over Congressional Map  

Pennsylvania Capitol Building

The Pennsylvania Republican Senate Leader refused to cooperate with state’s Supreme Court in connection with its order to redraw the congressional map.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional map is unconstitutional. The high court said the state’s electoral map was a result of gerrymandering and ordered a redistricting.

The Supreme Court also ordered the legislature to submit statewide municipal and precinct map data. It will use the data to draft and adopt its own congressional redistricting plan in case the legislature and the governor fails to submit a remedial congressional map.

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The legislature has until February 8 to pass a redistricting plan and send it Gov. Tom Wolf for approval. The governor needs to submit the plan on February 15. In other words, they only have less than three weeks to comply with the court’s order.

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati condemned the state Supreme Court’s ruling as a “partisan action.” He added that it showed a “distinct lack of respect for the Constitution and the legislative process.”

Sen. Scarnati argues that the court order is unconstitutional

Today, Sen. Scarnati informed the state Supreme Court that he will not submit any data identified in its order. The senator through his lawyer argued that the court’s order “violates the U.S. Constitution’s Election Clause.”

Pennsylvania State Sen. Joe Scarnati

In a letter to the court, Sen. Scarnati’s lawyer wrote, “In light of the unconstitutionality of the Court’s Orders and the Court’s plain intent to usurp the General Assembly’s constitutionally delegated role of drafting Pennsylvania’s congressional districting plan, Sen. Scarnati will not be turning over any data identified in the Court’s Orders.”

Separately, the lawyer for Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, also told the court the congressman doesn’t have any data to submit.

Both Sen. Scarnati and Cong. Turzai challenged the redistricting order in the U.S. Supreme Court.