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Supreme Court upholds Arizona's congressional redistricting system

Arizona's method of using an independent commission to redraw congressional districts is constitutional, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Monday, rejecting a challenge from Republican legislators. The decision protects similar efforts in 12 other states, The Associated Press reports.

After amending its state constitution in 2000, Arizona formed the five-person Independent Redistricting Commission to draw new districts after each Census, but lawmakers argued that stripping the legislature of the power was unconstitutional. They cited the Constitution's Election Clause, which gives statehouses the power to determine "the times, places, and manners of holding elections for senators and representatives."

The case comes against a backdrop of widespread gerrymandering in the wake of the 2010 congressional elections that gave Republicans in particular (though by no means exclusively) a virtual lock on many congressional districts.