HC Wake-Up Call: SCOTUS Denies Pennsylvania Lawmakers' Appeal to Delay Redrawing Congressional Map, More Teens Identify as Transgender & First Planets Outside of Our Galaxy May Have Been Discovered

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

SCOTUS Lets Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision Stand: Lawmakers Must Redraw Congressional Map

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has denied Republican lawmakers’ request to delay the redrawing of the congressional map ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, The Huffington Post reports.

In January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional map gave the Republican a political advantage, saying it was “clearly, plainly and palpably” in violation of the state’s constitution, HuffPost reports. The Pennsylvania Court said that lawmakers had to redraw the congressional district lines, otherwise the court would redraw it if lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a new map with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Republican lawmakers appealed to SCOTUS, saying that the U.S. Constitution only allowed legislatures to draw congressional maps, not courts, and that redrawing the map under such a short timeline would cause chaos in the election process, HuffPost reports.

But now lawmakers will have until February 15 to redraw the map and come to an agreement on it.

“The U.S. Supreme Court correctly recognized that there is no reason to delay implementing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order. Now, all parties must focus on getting a fair map in place,” Gov. Wolf said in a statement. “Gerrymandering is wrong and we must correct errors of the past with the existing map. My team is ready, willing and able to work with the General Assembly to ensure a new map is fair and within the clear orders given by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.”

Pennsylvania House Speaker Michael Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said in a joint statement that they did not believe the congressional map that was drawn was illegal, HuffPost reports. The Republican lawmakers said the would “do [their] best” to meet the court’s deadline, but “may be compelled to pursue further legal action in federal court.”

More Teens Identify as Transgender According to New Study

According to a study released on Monday in Pediatrics, far more teens are transgender or identify themselves using nontraditional gender terms than previously thought.

The study looked at ninth and 11th grade students and estimated that approximately three percent of students are transgender or gender nonconforming, ABC News reports.

“With growing trans visibility in the United States, some youth might find it safer to come out and talk about gender exploration,” lead author Nic Rider, a University of Minnesota postdoctoral fellow who studies transgender health, said.

The numbers in this study are higher than a study released last year by UCLA that found that 0.7 percent of teens aged 13 to 17 are transgender, ABC News reports.

The study did find, however, that these students were more likely to experience worse mental and physical health, possibly due to bullying and discrimination.

In an accompanying opinion article in Pediatrics, Dr. Daniel Shumer, a specialist in transgender medicine at the University of Michigan, wrote that the study shows that earlier counts of the trans population in previous studies “have been underestimated by orders of magnitude,” and that these increased numbers should “serve as a lesson to schools and physicians to abandon limited views of gender.”

“Youth are rejecting this binary thinking and are asking adults to keep up,” Shumer wrote.

The First Planets Outside of Our Galaxy May Have Been Discovered

Scientists may have just discovered planets beyond our own galaxy, NBC News reports.

The planets are located approximately 3.8 billion light-years away, and are not visible even with the most powerful telescopes we have today.

Astrophysicists founds the planets using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and gravitational microlensing, which means that the gravitational field around objects in space can focus light so they can be seen at high magnification, NBC News reports.

“We are very excited about this discovery,” Dr. Xinyu Dai, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and the leader of this new research, said. “This is the first time anyone has discovered planets outside our galaxy.”

While some scientists were excited about these latest discoveries, others were skeptical, adding that additional research would be needed to confirm this discovery.

Dai said that the data showed that trillions of planets exist within a galaxy called “RXJ1131-123,” HuffPost reports. However, these planets don’t orbit a central star like we do; they are “free-floating” between stars in their galaxy.

Pretty cool discovery!

What to look out for…

Kendrick Lamar released his new track, “Pray for Me” (featuring The Weeknd), from the “Black Panther” soundtrack, and it is straight fire.