Pa. GOP to take newly-released congressional map to court

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Republicans said they will go to federal court this week to try to block new court-ordered boundaries of Pennsylvania's congressional districts from remaining in effect for 2018's elections.

Top Senate Republican lawyer Drew Crompton said Monday a separation of powers case will form the essence of the GOP's argument.

"Implementation of this map would create a constitutional crisis where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is usurping the authority of the legislative and executive branches," said Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai.

Crompton declined to say whether Republicans will go to a district court or the U.S. Supreme Court or what type of legal remedy they'll seek, but the case will involve making the argument the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures and governors, not courts, the power to draw congressional boundaries.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court wouldn't stop the state court's order to redraw congressional districts.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf called the new map an effort to remedy the state's unfair and unequal congressional elections.

"I applaud the court for their decision and I respect their effort to remedy Pennsylvania's unfair and unequal congressional elections," Wolf said.

As it stands, the new map gives Berks County one less district, with it now being part of the 4th, 6th and 9th districts. In addition to Berks, the 9th District also includes Carbon, Columbia, Lebanon, and Schuylkill counties, as well as parts of Luzerne, Montour, and Northumberland.

All of Lehigh and Northampton counties and part of Monroe County will be in the 7th District.

The divided court appears to have drawn its own map, approved in a 4-3 vote, although some districts bear similarities to proposals submitted to the court by Democrats.

If it stands, the revised map is almost certain to improve Democrats' chances in more seats this year.

Republicans have won 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in three elections under the invalidated map, although statewide elections are often closely contested.

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