Republicans ask Supreme Court for general election and injunction

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Republicans are suing Pennsylvania’s new congressional map on Monday asked the Supreme Court to intervene with an emergency injunction that would prevent the new map from taking effect. The request also asks the High Court to consider forcing the Keystone State to hold its 2022 congressional elections at large.

After a lengthy process and lawsuits in state courts, the previous map compiled by the GOP-controlled Pennsylvania state legislature following the 2020 census was thrown out by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The legislature’s plan left the Commonwealth with nine districts favoring Democrats and eight districts favoring Republicans.

In rejecting that plan, the state Supreme Court endorsed a map drawn up by a political science professor retained by the Democratic Party’s election lawyer. Marc Elias. The new map resulted in a 10-7 split of congressional seats in favor of the Democrats.

The action in the case accelerated rapidly.

On February 9, 2022, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended the previously established primary schedule because the litigation ran up against deadlines set by the legislature for filing nomination petitions and obtaining signatures. The plaintiffs, which include several Republicans running in the state, initially filed a lawsuit in federal court two days later, seeking an injunction barring any changes to the primary schedule and preemptively trying to prohibit the use of a judicially created congressional card. .

On February 23, 2022, the GOP plan was entirely scuttled and the state’s highest court passed the Democratic Party’s 10-7 card. The move also sought to “modify” the state’s primary schedule and directed state election officials to abide by the new dates.

On the same day, the plaintiffs filed a new application specifically challenging the court-provided primary schedule and passage of the 10-7 map, seeking temporary restraining orders.

On Feb. 25, 2022, a district court refused to issue these temporary restraining orders — even as the plaintiffs said they would “seek Judge Alito for emergency assistance” if the federal court did not strike down. the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Monday’s request to Justice Samuel Alito respond to this threat.

“Petitions respectfully request this Court to immediately enjoin Defendants from implementing the court’s chosen Congressional map or deviating from the general primary timetable enacted by the Legislature,” the petition reads. “Relief is urgently needed as candidates are already campaigning for election under this unconstitutional map, and the legal deadline to obtain the necessary signatures on nomination petitions is March 8, 2022.”

The filing argues that a ‘late’ injunction would serve no purpose because if the current map is declared unconstitutional after candidates have already collected signatures and run their campaigns based on the 10-7 map and timeline changed by the court, it will “lead to chaos”. .”

The heart of the GOP complaint is that the 10-7 map is a “gerrymander” because it places “two Republican incumbents in the same congressional district, guaranteeing that at least one incumbent Republican will be eliminated from the Congressional delegation of the ‘state’ while the map legislature ‘would have placed a Democratic incumbent and a Republican in a single competitive district’.

The GOP plaintiffs also claim that the 10-7 map “violates the population equality rule” because it includes “congressional districts with two-person gaps” while the original map “limits the population gap.” between congressional districts to not more than one person, pursuant to [the Supreme] The rule of equal population of the Court.

Accepting the 10-7 map, according to the GOP, would violate a section of the U.S. Constitution that says “the times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof”. Their argument was interpreted by liberal legal voices as an argument that state legislatures have “a nearly unlimited right to regulate federal elections.”

The Democratic-backed 10-7 map passed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was chosen after the GOP legislature map has been vetoed by the Governor of Pennsylvania. Tom Wolfa democrat.

A 1932 Supreme Court case has long argued that a governor’s veto can prevent a Congressional map from being validly “prescribed” by a state legislature, something the GOP plaintiffs acknowledge in their claim.

“[T]he Pennsylvania Supreme Court removed any incentive for Governor Wolf to negotiate or compromise with the Republican-controlled legislature,” the filing states. “The governor knew from the start that a deadlock would lead to a court-chosen map — and he knew that process would be controlled by a state supreme court with a 5-2 Democratic majority. So Governor Wolf had every reason to veto the General Assembly map and take the matter to the Democratic-controlled court, even though the General Assembly had offered him a map with a majority of Democratic-leaning districts.

That said, the plaintiffs also don’t anticipate that Wolf and the GOP-controlled legislature are likely to come to an agreement anytime soon — which is essentially a repeat of the facts surrounding this 1932 case from Minnesota where state Republicans sought to strengthen their party’s position in Congress, but found themselves opposed to the Democratic-Farmer-Labour Party governor’s veto.

The Supreme Court’s solution to this contentious election is what the GOP plaintiffs council is expected to happen in Pennsylvania this year: general elections for each of the 17 congressional races. In other words, elections were held statewide to choose 17 different members of Congress.

“An immediate injunction will also advance the public interest by forcing the General Assembly and Governor Wolf to negotiate a new map of Congress within the context of 2 USC § 2a(c)(5),” the GOP plaintiffs claim, quoting federal law that requires a general election in the absence of an appropriate redistricting. “By requiring a general election in the event of a deadlock between the legislature and the governor, 2 USC § 2a(c)(5) creates strong incentives for compromise between rival factions of state governments.”

But, the plaintiffs say, they don’t really want a general election. The app practically admits that Republicans want the prospect of a general election to undermine Wolf’s veto on the 9-8 map and “restore the incentive” for a deal on a different map.

“The Court should immediately enforce the commandment of 2 USC § 2a(c)(5), which will restore the incentive for the Legislature and Governor Wolf to agree on a new map (and a modified primary calendar) and avoid the at- large elections show for the state’s 17 representatives in Congress,” the filing argues.

[image via Chip Somedevilla/Getty Images]

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