Supreme Court temporarily blocks Stanford professor's election districts for Wake and Mecklenburg

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But the Supreme Court also issued a curious partial stay in what's known as the Covington case.

The state's Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, and House Speaker Mike Turzai also issued a joint statement saying they "may be compelled to pursue further legal action in federal court".

Needless to say, the state's top-ranking Republicans did not meet last week's state Supreme Court deadline.

Instead of obeying the court's order to redraw the map ahead of the 2018 midterms, Dush on Monday urged his colleagues to co-sponsor legislation to remove the five Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices who struck down the map.

While the state's voters are split between the two major parties-as seen in 2016's presidential election where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 44,000 votes-the Republicans' extreme gerrymander gave them 13 House seats compared to 5 for Democrats. He said a more even map would require another form of gerrymandering by carving up Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The order was released early Tuesday evening, and does not elaborate on why election districts for North Carolina's two largest urban counties were the only two the court blocked.

Another possible solution-one that the state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania has now embraced-involves greater activism from judges.

Wednesday's emergency motion came the same day a federal judge refused to delay her order last week directing that North Carolina hold primaries for appellate court seats this year.

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"We will do our best to comply with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's January 22 order, but may be compelled to pursue further legal action in federal court", they said.

WHAT'S NEXT: This stay comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision last month to stay a court-ordered redraw of North Carolina's congressional districts, which a federal court has found to be unconstitutional because they are blatant partisan gerrymanders.

But as mapmaking technologies become more sophisticated, allowing mapmakers to draw district lines to pick up or exclude one household, voting rights advocates have asked the courts to intervene in states where Republicans have control, and where Democrats do, too.

Ellis said that Democrats stand to gain seats because the current political climate suggests Republicans may be facing political backlash after a tumultuous first year of the Trump presidency.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year on partisan gerrymandering cases in Wisconsin and Maryland.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles rejected the request by Republican legislators, who last fall chose to cancel primary elections for all judgeships in 2018. The high court, meanwhile, to avoid accusations of undue partisanship, should give them more time to do that work. It's relatively easy to show that redistricting is often done in partisan, biased ways, but it's much harder to find a workable alternative.

Ellis and Madonna both said that the Legislature's effort to get new maps done would have benefited from a full opinion from the state Supreme Court explaining their rationale for rejecting the existing maps. They want those districts in and around Charlotte and Raleigh returned to their shapes as originally drawn in 2011.

Madonna said it would have made more sense for the court to move the primary for the congressional races back rather than try to force the state to redraw the maps in such a condensed timeframe.

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