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.”
Subsequently, the Court ordered the legislature to turn over certain data related to the gerrymandered maps. Pretty straightforward, yes?
Apparently 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!