Supreme Court rejects Republican bid to block Maryland electoral district

U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, U.S. April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed Republican voters in Maryland by refusing for now to block congressional district lines drawn by Democrats to maximize partisan advantage.

The unsigned decision sidestepped a major ruling on the practice called partisan gerrymandering. The court ruled that with the midterm U.S. elections looming in November, there would not be enough time to draw new maps and the plaintiffs could not show they would be irreparably harmed if the existing maps were used.

The court did not weigh in on the hotly contested question of whether there are limits to politically motivated drawing of electoral districts, leaving that legal issue unresolved. Maryland’s Democratic-led legislature reconfigured the district in a way that led to the defeat of a Republican congressman. Litigation will now continue in a lower court.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham