The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to block the use of legislative districts in Wisconsin and Maryland in separate cases that had alleged unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.

Instead, the high court allowed lower courts to continue considering the claims.

The cases are among several, including in Alabama, that have been winding their way through the court system, eight years after the 2010 Census provided the basis for the last round of legislative redistricting.

Most of the cases will not affect this year's elections. But depending on the outcomes, they could set precedents for states to follow for the next round of redistricting after the 2020 Census.

In Alabama, the partisan breakdown includes U.S. House: six Republicans, one Democrat; state Senate: 26 Republicans, seven Democrats, one independent, one vacancy; and state House: 70 Republicans, 32 Democrats, three vacancies.

The claim: Racial gerrymandering.

The case: A federal lawsuit filed June 13 and backed by a national Democratic redistricting group alleges the U.S. House maps approved in 2011 by the state's Republican-led Legislature and GOP governor illegally limit the voting influence of black residents.

A separate lawsuit previously alleged that state House and Senate maps had packed too many black voters into certain districts. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 ordered those maps to be reconsidered by a lower court, which struck down a dozen districts last year. The Legislature then redrew 25 of the 35 state Senate seats and 70 of the 105 state House seats, reducing racial polarization in most districts. The court dismissed a challenge to the new maps last October.

Other states that had have had redistricting cases ruled upon recently or have cases still pending in the courts include Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.


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