The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s highly gerrymandered congressional district is unconstitutional and now Pennsylvania Republicans are calling for the impeachment of the state supreme court members who deemed it unconstitutional.
On Jan. 22, the Pennsylvania supreme court ruled against the state’s gerrymandered congressional maps, which allowed Republicans to win 13 of the state’s 18 congressional districts, even in years when Democrats won the statewide popular vote. The order explained that the state’s maps must be “composed of compact and contiguous territory” and must not “divide any county, city, incorporated town, borough, township, or ward, except where necessary to ensure equality of population.”
Pennsylvania Senate President pro tempore and Republican Joseph Scarnati told the state supreme court on January 31 that he would openly defy the court’s recent ruling on gerrymandering.
A letter from Scarnati’s legal counsel states that Scarnati will not be complying with the court order. The statement reads, “Senator Scarnati will not be turning over any data identified in the Court’s Orders.” Scarnati’s previously said that his defiance was due to his belief that the court’s January 22 order “violates the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause.”
Yesterday, pollster Matt McDermott tweeted a screenshot of an email from Pennsylvania Republican Cris Dush that was sent to all Pennsylvania House members. In the email, Dush calls for the impeachment of the state supreme court members that found the state’s congressional map unconstitutional.
The email reads:
The five justices who signed this order that blatantly and clearly contradicts the plain language of the Pennsylvania Constitution, engaged in misbehavior in office. Wherefore, each is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office and disqualification to hold any office or trust or profit under this Commonwealth. I would ask you to please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.
On Tuesday, anti-gerrymandering activists confronted Dush in his office after his call for impeachments. Dush defended his position, saying that it wasn’t actually about gerrymandering—it was because the state Supreme Court was unlawfully narrowing the time between when a bill passes the legislature and when the governor has to approve it.
Republicans control both chambers of the Pennsylvania legislature. Impeachment must be approved by the House and then two-thirds of the state Senate must vote to remove an official from office.