In a case that could have sweeping influence over U.S. elections… the Supreme Court on Tuesday grappled with the contentious practice of gerrymandering… the reshaping of electoral districts to favor one political party over another… The court's nine justices heard arguments on the legality of North Carolina's Republican-drawn electoral map and a Democrat-drawn House district in Maryland.
Challengers asked the top court to set clear limits to gerrymandering for the first time..
But the justices appeared deeply divided on the issue along ideological lines… Conservative justices, such as Justice Samuel Alito were skeptical about empowering judges to block electoral maps drawn by state legislators… while liberal justices, such as Stephen Breyer, were open to letting the courts intervene..
The North Carolina case focuses on a 2016 map openly adopted to favor Republicans..
After a court found that an earlier map drawn by GOP legislators had unlawfully used race as a factor..
More than two dozen Democratic voters, the state's Democratic Party and two advocacy groups sued -- claiming partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.
During Tuesday's arguments, new justice Brett Kavanaugh took an active role… questioning whether the Supreme Court needed to intervene when there has been a "fair amount of activity" to remedy the situation in a given state, including the adoption of independent redistricting commissions… "Let's terminate gerrymandering!" Outside the court, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenenger and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan led protests to end gerrymandering..
(SOUNDBITE) MARYLAND GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN SAYING: "Both parties are guilty" The Supreme Court ruling is due by the end of June…