The Latest: Justice declines to recuse in redistricting case

AP News
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Posted: Feb 05, 2018 7:34 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Supreme Court declining to stop court-ordered redistricting in Pennsylvania (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice is turning down a request by Republican legislative leaders to step aside from participating in a hotly contested redistricting case.

Justice David Wecht issued a 20-page opinion on Monday that called his comments critical of gerrymandering when running for election in 2015 "sometimes ardent."

Wecht says they were designed to inform voters of his views without saying how he'd rule in a particular case.

Wecht, a Democrat, says the recusal push by the Republican leaders came after he ruled against them, based on facts they could have discovered earlier.

He says those factors make the recusal request untimely under state law.

Wecht and fellow Democrats on the court threw out the Republican-crafted congressional map last month, and on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court declined a request to put the matter on hold.

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2:35 p.m.

Pennsylvania's governor is voicing his approval to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to put on hold a Democratic challenge to the state's Republican-drawn congressional district map.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday that gerrymandering "is wrong" and that a replacement map should "correct errors of the past."

Wolf says the focus should be on getting a fair map and that his team is eager to work with lawmakers on a new map.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from Republican leaders to put the Pennsylvania case on hold.

The Pennsylvania high court threw out the existing map, saying it violates the state constitution.

The state's justices gave lawmakers until Friday to submit a map for Wolf to consider. He'll then have until Feb. 15 to decide whether it meets his approval and will be forwarded to the high court.

The justices have said new maps should be in place in two weeks.

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12:45 p.m.

The Supreme Court is allowing a court-ordered redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania to proceed, denying a plea from Republicans to block it.

Justice Samuel Alito on Monday rejected emergency appeals from Republican legislative leaders and voters to block an order from the state Supreme Court to devise new congressional districts. The state high court ruled last month that the 18 districts violated Pennsylvania's constitution because they unfairly benefited Republicans.

The state court gave lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf three weeks to submit a replacement plan, after which the state justices might draw up their own map.

The Supreme Court typically does not review state court decisions based on a state's constitution. But the Republicans asked the high court to make an exception.

Alito handles emergency appeals from Pennsylvania.