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Joe Scarnati: Order for New District Map 'Unconstitutional'

Joe Scarnati: Order for New District Map 'Unconstitutional'

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, walks through the Pennsylvania Capitol after a meeting with House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, July 10, 2017. (Matt Rourke/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 01 February 2018 10:05 AM

Joe Scarnati, Pennsylvania Senate president pro tem, is refusing to comply with an order from the state's Supreme Court to redraw a congressional map.

This comes after the state high court ruled on Jan. 22 that a new map be put in place before the 2018 midterm elections take place in May, according to UPI.

In its ruling, the high court noted that Pennsylvania's congressional map drafted in 2011 by the Republican-led General Assembly was the result of unconstitutional gerrymandering, and ordered lawmakers to submit a map by Feb. 15, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted.

A letter submitted to the high court by attorneys for Scarnati on Wednesday said the court overstepped its authority, adding that he would not turn over the map data.

"In light of the unconstitutionality of the Court's Orders and the Court's plain intent to usurp the General Assembly's constitutionally delegated role of drafting Pennsylvania's congressional district plan, Senator Scarnati will not be turning over any data identified in the Court's Orders," Brian Paszamant, Scarnati's attorney, wrote per The Huffington Post.

The letter also argues that the court did not provide Scarnati and other Republicans with enough time to draw a new map.

"The court's January 22 Order deprives legislative respondents of the ability to draft the court-ordered alternate map because it provides no explanation as to how the 2011 plan violates the Pennsylvania Constitution or what the General Assembly must do to fashion a map that complies with Pennsylvania's constitution," the letter states, according to UPI.

Scarnati's letter is one of several to be filed by parties responding to the court order requesting a new map and data.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a separate filing by a lawyer for the General Assembly noted that the map files containing current municipal boundaries requested by the high court is only produced once a decade and most lawmakers did not have the data available.

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Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati said he won't comply with a Supreme Court order to redraw a congressional map.
joe scarnati, order, district, map
Thursday, 01 February 2018 10:05 AM
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