After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in the Pennsylvania gerrymandering case, delivering a blow to Republicans who had attempted to stall the state's original ruling, the GOP vowed to continue their fight, and one member called for the impeachment of five sitting Democratic state Supreme Court justices.
Predictably, the state's top Republicans aren't backing down. Instead, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and House Speaker Mike Turzai issued a rebuke of the order, threatening that they "may be compelled to pursue further legal action in federal court."
"We still do not believe that there was a violation of the state Constitution, that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court can direct us to draw a new congressional map, or that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has the authority to draw a new Congressional District Map under the Pennsylvania Constitution or United States Constitution," the two said in a joint statement.
State Rep. Cris Dush went a step further than his colleagues and called for the impeachment of five Democratic state Supreme Court justices who ruled the congressional map to be unconstitutional.
"The five Justices who signed this order that blatantly and clearly contradicts the plain language of the Pennsylvania Constitution, engaged in misbehavior in office," a memo from Dush read. "Each is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office and disqualification to hold any office or trust or profit under this Commonwealth."
The details of Dush's plans for impeachment are still unclear, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette elaborated:
It's unclear exactly how far the attempt to impeach the justices will go. Mr. Dush said in an interview that he expects to introduce legislation that will move quickly through committee. But House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said Republican leaders in the House had not yet discussed the effort.
The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court recently ruled that the GOP-drawn congressional map "clearly, plainly and palpably violate[d] the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." The Republicans attempted to stall the ruling, which ordered that a new congressional map be redrawn in time for the 2018 midterm elections, but their request for a stay was denied by Justice Samuel Alito," the Post-Gazette reported.
The reality, however, is that Pennsylvania's gerrymandered congressional map has tremendously benefited Republicans, and slighted Democrats. Since the map was drawn after the 2010 Census, Republicans have successfully defended their 13, of the state's 18, seats, even in years with a higher Democratic statewide vote — such as 2012.
The state's Supreme Court order requests a new map to be drawn and passed by the Legislature by Feb. 9, or approved by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf by Feb. 15, or the court will appoint an outside person to draw a new map.
Gerrymandering has long been a contentious issue at the state-level, and since the 2010 Census, Republicans have successfully drawn maps in their favor. New documents recently obtained by Salon reveal just how deep the plot goes.