Mark Martin intervenes in Pennsylvania lawmaking | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 2, 2018

Mark Martin intervenes in Pennsylvania lawmaking

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 7:42 AM

GOES TO COURT FOR PENNSYLVANIA GERRYMANDER: Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin.
  • GOES TO COURT FOR PENNSYLVANIA GERRYMANDER: Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin.
Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin doesn't have enough to keep him busy in Arkansas.

Following the path of Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's penchant for intervening in lawsuits in other states, the Republican secretary of state has joined in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that congressional districts in Pennsylvania were illegally gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

Yes. An Arkansas official has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court to block a state court's interpretation of that state's Constitution. It's as if the Pennsylvania secretary of state went to the Supreme Court to challenge the Arkansas Supreme Court's interpretation of the Arkansas Constitution's voting rights provision.

Such a request — to review a state court interpretation of state law — normally would be a long shot. But the request for an emergency stay of the order went first to conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who's asked for legal arguments. There's a theory that conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court want to find a way to prevent states from interfering with Republican gerrymandering. Pennsylvania uses an independent districting commission to guide the process. Arkansas's legislature draws district boundaries.

Martin joined other Republican secretaries of state from several states in seeking to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court saying the Pennsylvania ruling — which applies only in Pennsylvania — could create "chaos" in their states in the event of similar rulings. No one is challenging Arkansas districts, which were drawn when Democrats controlled the Arkansas legislature. All four House seats are held by Republicans. What chaos could ensue — a Democratic lawsuit that a Democratic legislature drew lines to favor Republicans?

A Georgia lawyer is representing the six states (naturally including Kansas, home of Martin pal and vote suppressor Kris Kobach) that have asked to file an amicus brief. I've sent a question to Mark Martin's office on what the cost of this intervention might be. The request was filed Monday with the Supreme Court.

UPDATE: Chris Powell of Martin's office said:

There is no cost to the State of Arkansas. The Republican State Leadership Committee filed the brief on behalf of the Secretary and others.

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