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Supreme Court justices sidestep a definitive ruling in two redistricting cases

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is resolving partisan redistricting cases from Wisconsin and Maryland without ruling on the broader issue of whether electoral maps can give an unfair advantage to a political party.

The justices unanimously ruled against Wisconsin Democrats who challenged legislative districts that gave Republicans a huge edge in the state legislature. In a separate unsigned opinion, they also did not side with Maryland Republicans who objected to a single congressional district.

The court sidestepped a definitive ruling in both cases. It could decide soon to take up a new case from North Carolina.

Proceedings will continue in lower courts in both cases.

The Maryland case is only in its preliminary phase and has not yet had a trial. That will now happen.

In Wisconsin, the Democrats prevailed after a trial in which the court ruled that partisan redistricting could go too far and indeed, did in Wisconsin, where Republicans hold a huge edge in the legislature even though the state otherwise is closely divided between Democrats and Republicans.

The Supreme Court said that the plaintiffs in Wisconsin had failed to prove that they have the right to sue on a statewide basis, rather than challenge individual districts.

The Democrats will have a chance to prove their case district by district.

Waiting in the wings is a case from North Carolina that seemingly addresses some of the high court’s concerns. The lawsuit filed by North Carolina Democrats has plaintiffs in each of the state’s 13 congressional districts. Like Wisconsin, North Carolina is generally closely divided in politics, but Republicans hold a 10-3 edge in congressional seats.

READ MORE: 4 major cases to watch from the Supreme Court this term

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