WASHINGTON (CN) – Two political gerrymandering cases that stoked voter passions across the United States fizzled on procedural grounds Monday at the Supreme Court.
While the justices vacated the ruling in the Wisconsin, saying that the lower court must better address on remand whether the voters have standing, they affirmed dismissal of the Maryland case in a 5-page unsigned opinion.
The court sidestepped a definitive ruling in both cases, but 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.