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Supreme Court says courts should not police partisan gerrymandering

The Supreme Court justices said by a 5-4 vote Thursday that claims of partisan gerrymandering do not belong in federal court.

The U.S. Supreme Court is rejecting a challenge to federal regulation of gun silencers, just days after a gunman used one in a shooting rampage that killed 12 people in Virginia. The justices did not comment Monday in turning away appeals from two Kansas
The Supreme Court is on its final day of the summer session.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The Supreme Court says federal courts have no role to play in policing political districts drawn for partisan gain. The decision could embolden political line-drawing for partisan gain when state lawmakers undertake the next round of redistricting following the 2020 census.

The justices said by a 5-4 vote on Thursday that claims of partisan gerrymandering do not belong in federal court. The court’s conservative, Republican-appointed majority says that voters and elected officials should be the arbiters of what is a political dispute.

The court rejected challenges to Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina and a Democratic district in Maryland.

The decision was a major blow to critics of the partisan manipulation of electoral maps that can result when one party controls redistricting.

Chief Justice John Roberts said for the majority that the districting plans “are highly partisan by any measure.” But he said courts are the wrong place to settle these disputes.

In dissent for the four liberals, Justice Elena Kagan wrote, “For the first time ever, this court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities.”