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Pa. Supreme Court may step in to redistricting case

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pennsylvania's highest court signaled Monday that it may get involved in the process of redrawing Pennsylvania’s congressional districts boundaries, as the state runs up against the primary schedule to adjust the boundaries to account for a decade of demographic shifts.

The state Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, put a hold on a lower court's consideration of proposals for a new map and said it would hear arguments on whether to exercise its authority over the process.

Democrats had asked the court to exercise its “extraordinary jurisdiction” in the matter.

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A Commonwealth Court judge, Patricia McCullough, has held three days of hearings on competing proposals for new district boundaries submitted to the court after Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers deadlocked.

More than a dozen were submitted by Republican lawmakers, Democratic lawmakers, Wolf, partisan groups and good-government groups.

However, Democrats had argued that McCullough — a Republican — should not issue an order adopting a particular map that she selects.

Rather, they said she should merely provide a recommendation to the state Supreme Court of a map to adopt.

In 1992, when lawmakers deadlocked, the state Supreme Court named a Commonwealth Court judge to be a “special master” who then held hearings and provided a recommendation to the high court.

A 5-2 Democratic majority sits on the state Supreme Court.