SCOTUS Sticks It to GOP With Emergency Ruling

Republicans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania have not been able to block judicially ordered congressional districting in North Carolina and Pennsylvania because of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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Separate orders issued late Monday allow state Supreme Courts to choose electoral maps for 2022 elections. Democratic candidates are better represented on these maps than they are on those drawn by state legislatures.

North Carolina’s map is most likely to give Democrats a new House seat by 2023.

According to Republicans, Pennsylvania’s map will likely lead to more Democratic victories in November’s midterm elections, when the two parties will fight for control of the House of Representatives.

No explanation was provided by the justices, as is common when emergency applications are filed on the so-called “shadow docket.”

Four conservative justices indicated they want the high court to confront the issue that could drastically limit state courts’ power over federal elections in future elections even though the court did not stop this year’s election from using the state-ordered plans. The Republicans maintained that state courts lack the authority to second-guess state legislatures on election-related decisions.

“We will have to resolve this question sooner or later, and the sooner we do so, the better. This case presented a good opportunity to consider the issue, but unfortunately, the court has again found the occasion inopportune,” Alito, joined by Gorsuch and Thomas, dissents from the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Similarly, Justice Kavanaugh said that he did not want to interfere with the current electoral process. There was a deadline for filing in North Carolina on Friday.

As a result of partisan wrangling and lawsuits over congressional redistricting in both states, where Republican legislatures are controlled, Democratic governors are in office, and Democratic state supreme courts are based, the state courts were involved.

Republican Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a plan that the Democratic-controlled Pennsylvania legislature had approved, saying it was the result of partisan politics.

As a result of the 2020 Census, the state will lose one seat in the House to a state with nine Democrats and nine Republicans.

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Republicans predicted nine Democrats and eight Republicans would win under their plan. The state courts eventually approved a map that likely will elect 10 Democrats to the House of Representatives, the GOP argued.

Due to population gains, North Carolina is picking up a House seat. The Republican majority in the Legislature produced an initial plan that would give Republicans ten seats and Democrats four. There is no veto power for the governor over redistricting plans in North Carolina.

In response to Democratic lawsuits, the state’s high court chose a map that likely will elect six Democrats.

However, the Supreme Court indicated in its Monday orders that the maps approved by North Carolina and Pennsylvania’s top courts would govern this year’s congressional elections.

Toth v. Chapman, the Pennsylvania dispute, stemmed from Pennsylvania’s effort to redraw its congressional map after the 2020 census, which included taking into account the loss of one of the state’s 18 House seats. Despite a map approved by the state’s Republican legislature, Tom Wolf, the state’s Democratic governor, vetoed it. Moreover, Pennsylvania voters also filed a lawsuit in December 2021 asking the state courts to adopt the Carter Plan, a new congressional map that would (among other things) create 10 Democratic-leaning seats instead of nine and place two incumbent Republicans in the same district.

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During the first week of February, the majority Democratic Pennsylvania Supreme Court intervened in the litigation. They instructed state trial judge Patricia McCullough to report, by Feb. 7, both a proposal for redistricting and any revisions to the election schedule. Among her recommendations was that the legislature’s map be used. State election officials were directed to create a new election calendar as a result of a dividing state supreme court ruling, however, that took place on Feb. 23.

Another group of voters, including at least one Republican candidate Aaron Bashir, who wants to run for Congress in Pennsylvania but says he has no idea who his constituents are or how to campaign, has filed a lawsuit in federal district court seeking to stop changes to the election calendar or the implementation of any plans selected by the state courts.

When the district court declined to act quickly to block the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order, Bashir and the other federal-court challengers went to the Supreme Court on March 1, arguing that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court violated the Constitution by ordering the government to implement a different map than the one the legislature had drafted and by imposing a new filing schedule for politicians. According to them, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court breached the Constitution’s insistence that only state legislatures should have the authority to regulate federal elections, rather than state courts.