June 19, 2017 11:55 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is wading into the thicket of partisan redistricting in a case from Wisconsin.
The justices say Monday they will decide whether Republican lawmakers drew electoral districts so out of whack with the state's political breakdown that they violated the constitutional rights of Democratic voters.
It's the high court's first case on what's known as partisan gerrymandering in more than a decade, and the outcome could affect elections across the country.
The case will be argued in the fall.
A three-judge court struck down Wisconsin's legislative districts in November and ordered new maps drawn in time for the 2018 elections. That work is proceeding.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says he is "thrilled" the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the lawsuit that was brought by Democrats.
Schimel is a Republican who is defending the maps. He said on Monday that Wisconsin's "redistricting process was entirely lawful and constitutional, and the district court should be reversed."
Sachin Chheda is director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit. He says Democrats proved in court that their rights were violated and "now this story will be told on a national stage.
The Supreme Court could soon decide whether the drawing of electoral districts can be too political.
A dispute over Wisconsin's Republican-drawn boundaries for the state legislature offers Democrats some hope of cutting into GOP electoral majorities across the United States. Election law experts say the case is the best chance yet for the high court to put limits on what lawmakers may do to gain a partisan advantage in creating political district maps.
The justices could say as early as Monday whether they will intervene. The Constitution requires states to redo their political maps to reflect population changes identified in the once-a-decade census.
The issue of gerrymandering - creating districts that often are oddly shaped, with the aim of benefiting one party - is central to the debate.
Updated: June 19, 2017 11:55 AM
Created: June 19, 2017 11:21 AM
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