Jan. 5 (UPI) — The Supreme Court has agreed to revisit partisan gerrymandering in cases out of Maryland and North Carolina — the first time the panel will address the issue with new Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The high court agreed to review rulings from two lower courts to determine the constitutionality of drawing congressional districts to favor one party over another.
The North Carolina case focuses on a map drawn in 2016 under exclusive control by Republicans. A three-judge federal court ruled the map unconstitutional in August because it favors the GOP.
Republicans have regularly held 10 of the state’s 13 congressional seats over the past six years.
A federal panel struck down North Carolina’s congressional map in January 2018, but the Supreme Court vacated the decision and sent the case back to the district court for review.
And in Maryland, a three-judge federal court ruled in November its congressional map unfairly benefitted Democrats and ordered lawmakers to draw a new one in time for the 2020 election. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined the hear the case and kicked it back down to the lower courts.
Previous Supreme Court rulings on gerrymandering have struck down congressional maps for discriminating against minority voters, The Wall Street Journal reported. But justices have struggled on cases in which parties have argued maps are too partisan.
The Journal said that while the high court believes partisan maps are unconstitutional, they have been unable to agree on a mechanism for determining how maps can be drawn outside the political process.
The New York Times reported that election law experts believe that with Kavanaugh’s addition to the Supreme Court, it’s unlike the panel will make a ruling restricting partisan gerrymandering.
The Supreme Court was expected to hear arguments on the cases in March and give a ruling by June.