On Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to intervene on a last-gasp effort to stay the order from the PA Supreme Court to use the Carter map for 2022. So Pennsylvania's congressional districts are set.

The order denying injunction is short and simple. Fortunately, it spares Pennsylvania of the plaintiffs' proposed remedy, statewide at-large elections to the US House which would have brought a new meaning to the word chaos.

The SCOTUS ruling does allow for appeals to a lower-court panel, which could impact congressional elections in 2024 and beyond. 

And on Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania released its opinions for why it selected the Carter plan. The seven jurists produced seven different opinions, with each describing why they voted for or against the Carter plan. Seeing that a majority of the justices have strong ties to Pittsburgh, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Citizens' Map split of Pittsburgh appeared to doom it in the eyes of most justices. But we stand by the decision: a plurality of our mappers did that in their map.

Something to keep an eye on...

Going back to the U.S. Supreme Court, in a companion case on the North Carolina congressional plan, Justice Kavanaugh writes that the Purcell principle, which holds that federal courts should not upend state election laws so close to an election, compels NC's injunction be denied as well.

But he signaled support for Justices Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch as they voted to grant an injunction in the North Carolina case, endorsing what is called the "independent state legislature doctrine." This is a judicial theory that argues state legislatures have sole authority to determine rules governing federal elections, immune from any judicial review by state courts. This theory underpinned many of the arguments made by President Trump's legal team as it fought to have state legislatures in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona overturn Electoral College votes after the 2020 election. 

So, while Pennsylvania's congressional districts are final and the Commonwealth avoided the "doomsday scenario" of at-large congressional elecctions, this doctrine could disrupt federal election rules moving forward. Draw the Lines mappers and good-government advocates should be aware that this theory appears to be gaining purchase among jurists in the highest court in the land.