FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court building is pictured in Washington, U.S. March 15, 2022. REUTERS/Emily Elconin/File Photo

March 23, 2022

By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the use of a map configuring Wisconsin’s congressional districts for this year’s elections drawn by Democratic Governor Tony Evers, giving a boost to efforts by President Joe Biden’s party to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The justices turned away a Republican bid to block the map drafted by Evers and approved by the Wisconsin Supreme Court setting boundaries for the state’s eight U.S. House districts after the governor vetoed one made by the Republican-controlled legislature he deemed unfairly skewed against Democrats. The emergency request to the justices was made by five Republican U.S. House members.

The court also granted a Republican request seeking to block new maps for Wisconsin’s state legislature, with two liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissenting. The court sent that case back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and ordered it to adopt new maps laying out the various districts.

Wisconsin party primary elections are scheduled for Aug. 9, with the general election on Nov. 8. At the national level, Republicans are seeking erase the slim majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress held by Biden’s fellow Democrats.

Democrats and other critics have accused Wisconsin Republicans of abusing their control over the state legislature to manipulate electoral maps to maximize the number of districts in which Republicans have a majority voters.

The Wisconsin electorate is closely divided between the two parties. Election experts consider Wisconsin’s electoral maps among the country’s most heavily gerrymandered, or designed to give one party an electoral advantage.

In the congressional case, Republican lawmakers challenged part of a March 3 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that adopted a map proposed by Evers within constraints set by an earlier ruling. The map drawn by Evers still favors Republicans, although not as much as maps proposed by Republican state legislators.

Among Wisconsin’s House districts, Republicans currently hold five and Democrats three.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

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