Bid to halt redistricting suit rejected

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to put on ice a federal lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s congressional districts approved after the 2010 census.

Justice Samuel Alito recently rejected the requested stay of the lawsuit by five Pennsylvania voters against the governor and elections officials, according to a court official.

Republican leaders in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly had said in the request filed earlier in the month that a trial in the case could occur in about a month, as the justices are considering a Wisconsin gerrymandering case with what they call “substantively identical claims.”

House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, who were granted a request to intervene in the federal case, asked the court to impose a halt until a similar Commonwealth Court lawsuit over the districts is resolved — and that case is mostly on hold pending a decision in the Wisconsin lawsuit.

Lawyers for Turzai and Scarnati argued the Wisconsin decision could render the Pennsylvania lawsuit moot, or narrow its issues.

The lawsuit alleges state maps have unfairly given Pennsylvania Republicans an electoral advantage, and it seeks to reshape the state’s congressional districts before the 2018 midterm elections. Republicans won 13 of 18 congressional seats in the 2014 and 2016 elections despite earning a little over 50 percent of the vote.

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