Judges refuse GOP request to block new Pa. district boundaries

Judges refuse GOP request to block new Pa. district boundaries
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A panel of federal judges in Pennsylvania refused on Monday to block the state Supreme Court's new congressional map from going into effect, dealing a blow to Republicans who had sought to block it. 
 
Top Republican officials in the state had joined with Republican members of the state's congressional delegation to challenge the new map, which was drawn by the state Supreme Court after it struck down the old map as an unconstitutional gerrymander. 
 
Those plaintiffs — including Pennsylvania Republican Reps. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaPoll: Casey holds double-digit lead over Barletta in Pa. Senate race How lawmakers have landed an endorsement from Trump Pennsylvania lawmakers invite Eagles to Capitol after Trump snub MORE, Ryan CostelloRyan Anthony CostellloLive coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed Trump claims Sanford remarks booed by lawmakers were well-received House GOP struggles to win votes for compromise immigration measure MORE, Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellySelling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal Bipartisan lawmakers introduce infrastructure bill for poor communities Congress must take steps to help foster children find loving families MORE, Tom MarinoThomas (Tom) Anthony MarinoIn the shadow of another epidemic, we must protect our children Republicans refuse to back opioids bill sponsored by vulnerable Dem Doug Collins to run for House Judiciary chair MORE, Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan House rejects farm bill as conservatives revolt GOP leaders huddle with discharge petition backers, opponents MORE, Keith RothfusKeith James RothfusConservation group launches M campaign to save public parks bill Primaries foretell ‘Year of Women’ for next Congress Democrats must vote for electable candidates to win big in November MORE, Lloyd SmuckerLloyd K. SmuckerElection Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral Judges refuse GOP request to block new Pa. district boundaries Pennsylvania Republicans sue to overturn new district map MORE and Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP Technical education struggles to gain funding traction MORE — took issue with the three-week timeline the state court gave the GOP-controlled legislature and the Democratic governor to reach an agreement before stepping in to draw the lines itself. They argued that the window was too short and that the entire process violated the state legislature's right to draw the lines. 
 
But the three-judge panel with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled against those lawmakers and declined to block the new maps from being implemented before the state's May primary. 
 
"The Plaintiffs' frustration with the process by which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court implemented its own redistricting map is plain," the judges wrote in their opinion. 
 
"But frustration, even frustration emanating from arduous time constraints placed on the legislative process, does not accord the Plaintiffs a right to relief."
 
The new lines have been seen as a boon for Democrats, who stand to benefit electorally. Right now, the party has control of just five congressional seats in the state compared to 13 controlled by Republicans, even though Pennsylvania is seen as a swing state and regularly elects Democrats statewide.
 
The new map drawn by the court would expand Democratic opportunities in a handful of districts — the nonpartisan election analysts at Cook Political Report lists seven Republican-held seats on its list of the most competitive races in the country.
 
One of those seats, currently held by retiring Rep. Pat MeehanPatrick (Pat) Leo MeehanOvernight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus Three Republicans join climate change caucus Pennsylvania GOP to use Meehan donation to support female candidates MORE, is listed as a "likely Democratic" victory in 2018. Three more are considered toss-ups, while three others are subsequently listed as "likely Republican." 
 
The court ruling limits Republican recourse as they try to block the maps from taking effect, but the party still has options. The plaintiffs can appeal to the federal 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. And Republicans also have an emergency suit pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, but it's unclear when the court would act on that challenge.