Senator Above The Law?

Since all the news has been about Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, I, rebel that I am, decided to veer in another direction.  How about a state senator who is point-blank refusing to obey a state Supreme Court ruling?

Pennsylvania seems to be much in the news of late.  One reason, though by no means the only one, is that they have a gerrymandering problem. The state’s gerrymandered congressional maps enabled the GOP to win 13 of the state’s 18 congressional districts even in years when Democrats won the statewide popular vote. On January 22nd, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the gerrymandered congressional maps violate the state constitution. The Court further ordered 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.” It also gave the legislature until February 9 to draw new maps, and the governor until February 15 to approve the maps and submit them to the court for review.  If either deadline is not met, “this Court shall proceed expeditiously to adopt a plan based on the evidentiary record developed in the Commonwealth Court.”

PA gerrymanded mapSubsequently, the Court ordered the  legislature to turn over certain data related to the gerrymandered maps.  Pretty straightforward, yes?

scarnatiApparently not for Pennsylvania State Senator Joe Scarnati who is saying he will refuse to follow the Court’s order.  The first, he says is unconstitutional, claiming that only the state legislature and not the state courts are constitutionally allowed to weigh in on questions of gerrymandering. Additionally, an attorney for Scarnati sent a letter stating that,“Senator Scarnati will not be turning over any data identified in the Court’s Orders.”

The matter is under advisement at the U.S. Supreme Court, but since they have not yet ruled, the state Supreme Court’s order stands as issued.  Where does this Scarnati get his nerve?  Somehow I think he has overstepped his bounds and I hope he gets a knock on the head from both the courts and his constituents.  Scarnati will be up for re-election in November, by the way.

And by the way … speaking of Pennsylvania … don’t forget about Groundhog Day tomorrow!  It is among my favourite holidays, because … no extra cooking, no guests or visits, no purchasing of gifts, and therefore no wrapping, no decorating, no nothing … it’s just there, and then it isn’t there any more … no muss, no fuss.  My kind of holiday!


19 thoughts on “Senator Above The Law?

  1. Pingback: New Maps for Pennsylvania! | Filosofa's Word

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  3. I’m glad the gerrymandering in PA is getting taken care of. It’s pretty awful…you end up with districts that don’t just look awful but are not at all grouped by common interests. For example, Hazleton and Harrisburg share very few common interests yet are in the same congressional district.

    Now if it could be taken care of in NY too. NY-10 is one of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation, and it doesn’t need to be (because I don’t think Jerry Nadler would be in danger of losing his seat).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh yes, Groundhog day. The notion of whether it, the groundhog. Sees it’s shadow or not, leads to six weeks more winter? Feb 2nd is slap bang in the middle of the winter season. A season of 89 days if I am not mistaken? Maybe it’s 90? Three months anyways. So a prediction of 6 more weeks of winter, is laughingly accurate. Like yourself, I like the day, for it signals an abatement of the season. I live in Canada. The cold, for myself, is tolerated not welcomed. My fave day of the season, is St. Paddy’s day. For that heralds the end of winter season.I hate to wish away my life. Yet Groundhog day is always welcomed and not because of shadows. Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it is most always rather a given that it will be cold and gloomy for at least another 6 weeks, and I do remember one year that we had a significant snow in mid-April even. Like you, I do not like wishing my life away, but the older I get, the colder cold gets, and I am in fact wishing for March. I want to be able to go out and walk again, to see flowers … sigh. Sorry … I’m in a mood tonight. So anyway, Happy Groundhog Day, Jamie! Cheers!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Being a native of eastern Pennsylvania, I know that gerrymandering is not isolated to just the Keystone state, but it is nice to finally see the courts stepping up and doing what the Constitution says they need to do – keep tabs on the other two branches of government!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are quite right … Pennsylvania is not alone in its gerrymandering and I should have mentioned that in my post. I agree that it is good to see the courts taking a stand, for I fear this may be one of the big hurdles to fairness in the November mid-terms. The other hurdles, of course, being such things as Russian interference, big money campaign contributions from the likes of the Koch brothers, voter disenfranchisement, and voter apathy.

      Welcome, by the way, and thank you for commenting!


  6. Them’s those weasel words again. In British Civil Service terms it’s a pursuit of the letter of the law but not it’s spirit. The guy needs putting in a barrel and rolling down a hill…The heck with the subtle approach!

    Liked by 1 person

              • Well, in terms of Earth’s History, we’re just another species; one that’s not been around all that long, and if we’re not careful will end up as a barely discernible smear on the fossil record.
                Nothing like following Earth’s history from its creation and through the various eons and eras to give you a touch of perspective!

                Liked by 1 person

                • I’m sure you are right. My interest in history has always been limited to more modern times … say, 17th century and forward, and my forte has been WWII and forward. I missed out on some things by eschewing earlier history, which no doubt skews my perspective. But I look at various species of non-humans, and they do not have ‘religion’, so they don’t discriminate based on that. They don’t seem to care about the colour of one’s fur. Gender identity? Live and let live … I actually have a gay cat and he gets along fine with the rest of the troop. So, it seems to me that mankind is the only species that discriminates based on irrelevant criteria. If this is what that “higher level” brain and opposable thumbs leads to, I’m coming back as a wolf! 🐺

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Actually there by human moral codes there are some pretty unpleasant traits in a few species, which have obviously influenced some of our own folk, but that aside. We should have learned by now…but…nope!
                    The good thing about looking at history in million year episodes (in geological terms but a mere snip!) it sure gives perspective.
                    Standing outside the Whitehouse:
                    ‘Hey Lardo! Two thousand years time…who’ll give a %*!@ about you! You’ll be dust, even the worm crap from eating you will be long gone!’ 😝


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