On the Friday January 26th, 2018 edition of WITF’s Smart Talk:
Many lawmakers were stunned this week when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the state’s congressional maps unconstitutional, and gave the legislature and governor just a few weeks to draw and pass new ones.
Some in Harrisburg have expressed doubt that they’ll be able to redraw the maps before the February 9 submission deadline. Steve Miskin, a spokesman for House Republicans, called the task “borderline impossible.” If lawmakers take too long, the court has said it will choose a new map.
There’s also a possibility the US Supreme Court will issue a stay on the case, though it’s rare for a federal court to interfere in a state court matter. In their appeal to the higher court, Pennsylvania republicans argued that a stay would be justified because the state court’s decision violates the legislature’s constitutionally-protected ability to draw congressional maps.
The state court has yet to issue its full opinion on the case, which will go into more detail about why five of the seven judges decided the current maps are illegally gerrymandered.
A previous ruling from a federal district court and an opinion from a lower state court judge found the maps to be constitutional.
WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Katie Meyer hosts, and Keystone Crossroads’ Emily Previti and Marc Levy of the Associated Press join us for a detailed discussion about what we’ve learned since Monday’s unprecedented ruling, and what we still don’t know.
Marc Levy of the Associated Press / Keystone Crossroads’ Emily Previti / WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Katie Meyer