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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Friday blocked lower court rulings ordering Republican legislators in Michigan and Ohio to redraw U.S. congressional maps ahead of the 2020 elections, dealing a blow to Democrats who had argued that the electoral districts were intended to unlawfully diminish their political clout.
The justices granted requests from Republican lawmakers in both states to put those decisions on hold, halting further action in the cases and the need to rework electoral district boundaries. The justices did not provide any explanation for their brief orders.
Courts - Maps - States - Republicans - Power
The lower courts found that the electoral maps in the two states had been drawn to entrench Republicans in power by manipulating boundaries in a way that reduced the voting clout of Democrats - a practice known as partisan gerrymandering - in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
While both disputes involve U.S. House of Representatives districts in the two states, the Michigan case challenges districts in the state legislature as well.
Decisions - Michigan - Ohio - Hold - Justices
The decisions in Michigan and Ohio that were put on hold by the justices were the latest rulings by federal courts determining that electoral maps designed by a state’s majority party unconstitutionally undermined the rights of voters who tend to support the other party.
But the action by the justices was not unexpected as they weigh two other gerrymandering cases - one from North Carolina and the other from Maryland - that could decide definitively whether federal judges have the power to intervene to curb partisan gerrymandering. The rulings in those cases, due by the end of June, are likely to dictate whether the legal challenges against the Ohio and Michigan electoral maps can...
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