SCOTUS punts on partisan gerrymandering, let maps stand for now

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The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Monday essentially punted on extreme partisan gerrymandering as it declined to definitively decide whether it’s constitutional for states to create electoral maps that give an advantage to one political party over another.

The court took up two cases, one out of Wisconsin and one out of Maryland.

In Wisconsin, the nine justices unanimously ruled against Democrats in the landmark case that challenged the state’s legislative districts they said gave Republicans an edge in the state legislature. The SCOTUS said the Democrats failed to prove they had a right to sue statewide rather than challenging individual legislative districts.

“We lack jurisdiction to decide  this case, much less to draw speculative and advisory conclusions regarding others,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote on behalf of the court.

The court also decided against Maryland Republicans, saying the lower court was right to leave the current system in place.

The decision dashed the hopes of political reformers who were seeking a landmark ruling to change the future of American politics. The lack of definitive ruling also leaves the door open for a third case based out of North Carolina to reach the court next term.

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