ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The U.S. Supreme Court is keeping a revised map of Pennsylvania's congressional districts in place, turning down a request from Republican leaders in the state Legislature to throw it out.
The court's order Monday declining to put on hold the revised map comes as incumbents and potential challengers are circulating petitions to get on the May primary ballot.
The court is declining to halt a series of decisions by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that threw out a 2011 Republican-crafted map and established a new map of the state's 18 districts.
"This is a big change," said Chris Borick, the director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. "It kinda is a go-ahead, a green light that these districts are in play."
He added that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision makes it likely the new districts will be in place for this year's elections.
He also said the new districts will allow congressional elections to happen on a more even playing field.
"The more compact districts in places like Montgomery County and Delaware County and in the Lehigh Valley give democrats a much more competitive environment," he said.
The decision also has a major impact for last week's contentious special election. Borick says in January, that district, and the job, go poof.
"That district no longer exists, as is. Both the two candidates who ran in that, Rep. Saccone and Conor Lamb, will no longer live in that district, as currently configured," he said.
So, if those candidates run for a district seat again, they'll each have to run in new districts.
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