Yet Democrats are more supportive of having courts rein in extreme districting plans, mainly because Republicans control more legislatures and drew districts after the 2010 census that enhanced their advantage in those states and in the House of Representatives. This new bill aims to correct issues of equity across all state schools, as required by the court.
Both sides asked the court to expedite its decision, as the school districts need to know by August 4 what their budgets are.
The partisan gerrymander to be reviewed next term is in Wisconsin, where the state legislature and the governorship are controlled by Republicans.
In a possible sign of deep ideological divisions among the nine justices over the issue, the court's conservative majority granted Wisconsin's request, despite opposition from the four liberal justices, to put on hold the lower court's order requiring the state to redraw its electoral maps by November 1.
The high court has been willing to invalidate state electoral maps on the grounds of racial discrimination, as it did on May 22 when it found that Republican legislators in North Carolina had drawn two electoral districts to diminish the statewide political clout of black voters. A ruling will come sometime between late 2017 and June 2018.
Such errors, he said, should not prevent voting officials from being able to identify who cast the ballot.
"Correct", responded Marc Elias, who was general counsel for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.
The arguments over the maps have been heated for the last six years. In the majority's opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia noted that partisan gerrymandering is as old as colonial America, and that ultimately, it is not for the courts to insert themselves into the political actions of legislative redistricting.
Agreeing with that assessment was Rick Hasen, a professor who specializes in election law at the University of California, Irvine.
Schimel said in a statement that he's "thrilled" the Supreme Court has taken the case. He says the redistricting process was "entirely lawful and constitutional". U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, a Henrico Democrat, was elected in the redrawn 4th District, changing the state delegation from eight Republicans and three Democrats to seven Republicans and four Democrats.
"Wisconsin lawmakers have maintained that our state's redistricting process and legislative maps are legal and constitutional, and we look forward to the Court's final decision, which we are confident will affirm our position", Vos and Fitzgerald said. A lower court struck down the districts as unconstitutional past year.
"There is no question", said the 2-1 ruling, that the map drawn by Wisconsin's legislature "was created to make it more hard for Democrats, compared to Republicans, to translate their votes into seats". That weakened African-American voting strength elsewhere in the state, the court said. Dissenting was U.S. Chief Judge William Griesbach of Milwaukee. The case addresses the practice of so-called partisan gerrymandering, drawing legislative boundaries to favor one party over another. It essentially measures and compares each party's wasted votes -those going to the victor in excess of what's needed for victory - in an election.
The Democrats say that the 2011 plan was drawn specifically to disenfranchise Democratic voters. The other made the racial gerrymandering argument against state legislative districts. "The effect of this is a serious problem for our democracy".
In his concurrence, Justice Anthony Kennedy laid out what he saw as the two obstacles to tackling partisan gerrymandering by the courts: first, that there are no "comprehensive and neutral principles for drawing electoral boundaries", and second, there are "rules to limit and confine" when the courts should engage in reviewing redistricting claims.