Supreme Court agrees to pause partisan gerrymander rulings for Ohio, Michigan

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to pause a pair of lower court rulings ordering that Ohio and Michigan redraw their district maps ahead of the 2020 election.

The justices' ruling, issued in several unsigned orders, mean that the states don’t have to immediately start redrawing the maps, after the lower courts found that current district maps constituted a partisan gerrymander.

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A federal court struck down Michigan's district maps as unconstitutional in April. Another federal court ruled similarly just a week later in regard to Ohio's congressional districts.

The order comes as the Supreme Court is poised to issue rulings in the coming weeks in a pair of partisan gerrymandering cases.

The justices heard arguments earlier this year concerning congressional districts in Maryland and North Carolina. 

North Carolina Democrats argue that Republicans drew the state’s congressional district in favor of the GOP. Meanwhile, Republicans in Maryland claim that Democrats reworked a district to eliminate a GOP congressional seat.

The high court has struggled in the past to determine exactly what constitutes a partisan gerrymander, noting that drawing districts is a highly political process.

But the justices' upcoming ruling, expected to come by the end of June, gives them the opportunity to create a test to determine whether a district map is unconstitutional.