Top Pennsylvania Republican Threatens to Defy a Court Order Just to Keep His State Gerrymandered

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Just over a week after Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional districts were gerrymandered to provide an unconstitutional advantage to Republican candidates, one of its top Republican officials is doing everything he can to prevent the districts from being redrawn—even if it means defying a lawful order.

On Wednesday, attorneys for Pennsylvania Senate President pro tempore Joseph Scarnati sent a letter to the State Supreme Court notifying them that Scarnati would not comply with an order that he turn over “statewide municipal precinct and map data” for the court to help gauge progress on the mandated redistricting effort.


Scarnati’s obstinance comes as the clock is running out for state legislators to draft an acceptably redistricted map by Feb. 15, after which the court warned it would be forced to bring in an outside legal expert to draw the districts instead.

While admitting that the state’s general assembly is, in fact, working to draft a new electoral map per the court’s ruling, Scarnati’s lawyers nevertheless maintained that the authority over redistricting was ultimately in the hands of Pennsylvania lawmakers and not the justices.


Scarnati’s heel-dragging comes after six Republican secretaries of state filed an amicus brief insisting that there’s no rush to redistrict Pennsylvania anyway.