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Supreme Court to rule on partisan gerrymandering

The Supreme Court confirmed Monday that it will debate the constitutionality of drawing election maps in favor of one party over another, CNN reports.

While the Supreme Court has previously ruled on maps that were drawn to suppress the voices of racial minorities, the court has never decided if partisan gerrymandering is likewise unconstitutional. For decades, Republicans and Democrats alike have redrawn oddly-shaped districts in order to benefit their respective parties, although Republicans currently hold the advantage due to their majority control during the redrawing of districts following the 2010 census.

In the extreme Wisconsin case being heard by the Supreme Court, three federal judges said the state's Republican Party violated the Constitution's First Amendment and equal rights protections by drawing severely partisan district lines and stifling Democratic votes.

The Supreme Court's conclusions could signal a "potentially fundamental change in the way American elections are conducted," The Washington Post reports. "If the court is not willing to draw a line here, it would suggest the court is unlikely ever to feel comfortable setting a limit," Richard Pildes, an expert in election law at New York University, told The Associated Press.

The court will hear the case in its autumn term, which begins in October.