Justice Alito Has Not Yet Acted on Pa. Congressional Gerrymandering Stay Request from Pa. Legislative Republicans. Why?

On Thursday, Pennsylvania Republicans sought to stop a Pa Supreme Court order requiring that the state’s congressional districts be redrawn because they violate the state Constitution.

The claim to the United States Supreme Court is an extreme long shot because ordinarily interpretations of state constitutions rest with state Supreme Courts, and the Republicans in the federal litigation said that it should be the state courts which resolve this.

The petition went to Justice Alito, and Court watchers expected the Justice could well order a response before the end of the day Friday.  After all, the petition asked (at page 23) for the Court to rule on the petition by Wednesday, January 31 if at all possible, given the strict deadlines set by the state Supreme Court. If Justice Alito wanted a response, it would be weird and unfair to wait to order it on Monday, 1/29 when he could have ordered it on Friday, 1/26.

So this makes me think that the Justice will either simply deny the order, or he has referred it to the Court, which will deny the order, either on Monday or by Wednesday at the latest.

If that happens, it could be that another Justice will dissent, but it would be weird too to have a dissent without having first asked for the other side to respond.

Of course, this is all speculation and I could be wrong. But this is how it looks to me right now.

In any case, I see the failure of Justice Alito to order something by Friday as a bad sign for the state Republicans seeking a stay.

 

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