State officials urge Supreme Court to block Pennsylvania gerrymandering decision
State officials urge Supreme Court to block Pennsylvania gerrymandering decision

The Secretaries of State from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and South Carolina [official websites] filed a motion [text, PDF] on Monday urging the US Supreme Court to block the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent order [JURIST report] striking down the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 as violating the state constitution.

The motion seeks the ability to submit an amicus brief on behalf of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and support their emergency request for stay (a request for immediate action addressed to an individual Justice). Raising issues pertaining to the potential disruption of 2018 elections, the state leaders claim there are urgent circumstances to justify action by the Supreme Court.

[The Secretaries of State] are concerned by the tendency of courts, acting deep in the decade, to direct changes in state districting plans that were enacted soon after the last decennial Census in 2010. They are also concerned that injunctive relief, like that directed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in this case, will cause chaos in their states. The expectations of voters and candidates will be changed on short notice, and the interest of overseas and uniformed services voters will have to be protected.

The brief continues “the primary concern of [the Pennsylvania General Assembly] is that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court inserted itself into a fundamentally legislative process in contravention of the separation of powers.”

Justice Samuel Alito has issued a request for a response by the League of Women Voters, respondents in the pending appeal, by Friday at 4PM.