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Partisan gerrymandering is almost as old as America, but will the Supreme Court decide it has gone too far?

The Supreme Court building (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
The Supreme Court building (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether partisan gerrymandering – in which voting districts are drawn to favor one party – is a time-honored American political tradition or has evolved into an unconstitutional rigging of elections.

The Wisconsin case of Gill vs. Whitford, to be heard in the fall, could yield one of the most important rulings on political power in decades.

Gerrymandering has been derided for generations, often mocked in cartoons depicting bizarre-shaped districts that look like salamanders or spiders.

But in recent decades, thanks to software programs, gerrymandered maps looks less obvious and are more effective in giving one party an insurmountable advantage. The maps can all but ensure that the party in power at the beginning of the decade — when districts are drawn — will maintain control of the state legislature and win most of the state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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