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- The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal courts are not responsible in case of partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts.
- The decision places a significant importance on the power of state legislatures.
- Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion arguing the court has "no legal standards to guide us in the exercise of such authority."
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WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 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.
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "We have no commission to allocate political power and influence in the absence of a constitutional directive or legal standards to guide us in the exercise of such authority."
Associate Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissenting opinion, characterizing gerrymandering efforts as a perversion of democratic values.
"The partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people," she wrote.
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