State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

GOP Sen. Scarnati pledges to ignore court order in gerrymandering case

Written by Katie Meyer | Feb 1, 2018 6:02 AM

(Harrisburg) - Top Senate Republicans are refusing to hand over congressional district data to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

It's a new wrinkle in the ongoing legislative turmoil stemming from the court's ruling that the state's congressional maps are unconstitutional, and that they must be redrawn within three weeks.

In their decision, the court said if lawmakers don't redraw the maps and submit them to Governor Tom Wolf within three weeks, the justices will redraw them.

A week later, the court still hasn't issued its full rationale.

That was a major point in the Senate GOP's appeal for a stay last week--that they don't have enough information or time.

But the justices rejected it, and ordered they turn over statewide map data.

Senate Republicans say the order for data shows the court is already preparing to draw new maps.

Led by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, they're contending that the court -- which has a five-to-two Democratic majority -- is impeding on the legislature's constitutional authority.

"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," a Senate lawyer wrote in a letter to the court.

The court hasn't responded.

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