On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against Republicans North Carolina and Pennsylvania who sought to block state court-ordered congressional districting plans, The Hill reports.
Both rulings left intact the respective state’s court decision in which more evenly drawn maps were exchanged for those drawn by GOP-led state legislatures. The Supreme Court’s decision gives a temporary victory to the Democrats as similar fights take place across the nation over the “once-per-decade process” of redrawing new congressional and legislative voting districts following the U.S. Census.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote an opinion endorsing the court’s decision to deny the request while the court's three other conservative justices, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch, wrote in dissent.
Kavanaugh argued that his vote against the Republicans lawmakers’ request was due to the upcoming midterm elections, not based on the merits of their claim, which he exclaimed that the court should address in the next voting cycle.
“The issue is almost certain to keep arising until the Court definitively resolves it,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Therefore, if the Court receives petitions for certiorari raising the issue, I believe that the Court should grant certiorari in an appropriate case—either in this case from North Carolina or in a similar case from another State. If the Court does so, the Court can carefully consider and decide the issue next Term after full briefing and oral argument.”
Kavanaugh added in his denial that “this Court has repeatedly ruled that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election laws in the period close to an election.”
Alito, in his dissent, argued that the GOP lawmaker in the North Carolina case would “likely … prevail on the merits of the review were granted.” In essence, he agreed with Kavanaugh that the matter needed to be resolved "sooner or later,” and bemoaned that “unfortunately the Court has again found the occasion inopportune.”
The challenge in Pennsylvania was brought by a group of Republican voters after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, by a bare majority, voted to substitute the map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature in favor of one drawn by a political scientist from Stanford that was deemed to be more equal.
Initially, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the plan by the Republican-controlled legislature saying it was the result of a partisan political process.
The ruling in the Pennsylvania case was delivered without comment or noted dissent in which the three-judge court would allow for additional appeals in the dispute.