In blow to GOP, Supreme Court won't block Pa. redistricting

Gov. Wolf: 'We must correct errors of the past'

WASHINGTON - The United States Supreme Court is allowing a court-ordered redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania to proceed, denying a plea from Republicans to block it.

Justice Samuel Alito on Monday rejected emergency appeals from Republican legislative leaders and voters to block an order from the state Supreme Court to devise new congressional districts.

"The U.S. Supreme Court correctly recognized that there is no reason to delay implementing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's order," said Gov. Tom Wolf. "Now, all parties must focus on getting a fair map in place. Gerrymandering is wrong and we must correct errors of the past with the existing map."

The state high court ruled last month that the 18 districts violated Pennsylvania's constitution because they unfairly benefited Republicans.

The state court gave lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf three weeks to submit a replacement plan, after which the state justices might draw up their own map.

The Supreme Court typically does not review state court decisions based on a state's constitution, but the Republicans asked the high court to make an exception.

"We understood when requesting the stay that this is a rarely used remedy, but given the chaos caused by the state Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the state’s congressional map, we believed the request was necessary," Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and House Speaker Mike Turzai said in a joint statement. "We still do not believe that there was a violation of the state Constitution, that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court can direct us to draw a new congressional map, or that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has the authority to draw a new congressional district map under the Pennsylvania Constitution or United States Constitution."

The lawmakers said they will do their best to comply with the state Supreme Court's order, but they may be compelled to "pursue further legal action in federal court."

Alito handles emergency appeals from Pennsylvania.

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