HARRISBURG, Pa. — Republican leaders in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put on ice a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s congressional districts approved after the 2010 census.
House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati asked Justice Samuel Alito in a filing for a stay of the lawsuit by five Pennsylvania voters against the governor and elections officials.
The request said a trial in the case could occur in about a month, as the justices are considering a Wisconsin gerrymandering case with what they call “substantively identical claims.”
A lawyer for the plaintiffs said Wednesday they oppose the request to Alito and said they were prepared to respond.
The Republican leaders, who were granted a request to intervene in the federal case, want it stopped until a similar Commonwealth Court lawsuit over the districts is resolved — and that case is mostly on hold pending a decision in the Wisconsin lawsuit.
Lawyers for Turzai and Scarnati argued the Wisconsin decision could render the Pennsylvania lawsuit moot, or narrow its issues.
The lawsuit alleges state maps have unfairly given Pennsylvania Republicans an electoral advantage, and it seeks to reshape the state’s congressional districts before the 2018 midterm elections.
Republicans won 13 of 18 congressional seats in the 2014 and 2016 elections despite earning a little over 50 percent of the vote.