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Expand chart
Data: Ballotpedia; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

More than half of the state supreme courts in the United States have a majority of justices affiliated with the Republican Party, according to a Ballotpedia study.

Why it matters: Gerrymandering challenges amid this year's redistricting process and disputes about changes to voting rights — issues with the potential to radically change future election outcomes — would, in some cases, be heard by these courts.

By the numbers: About 52% of the 341 state justices Ballotpedia studied are affiliated with the GOP, compared to a third affiliated with Democrats. The researchers were unable to determine partisan affiliations for the remaining 49.

  • Eight of the nine justices on Washington state's court of last resort were found to be affiliated with the Democratic Party — more than any other state.
  • Texas has the most Republican-affiliated justices, with 18 out of 18 in its two courts of last resort.

Go deeper

Mapped: State muscle

Expand chart
Data: Quorum State; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

There are twice as many states that have solid, Republican-controlled legislatures as those with solid, Democratic-controlled ones, according to Quorum's new 2021 State Legislative Trends Report.

Why it matters: The power of state legislatures has been on national display in recent weeks, with Texas and other states passing voting and abortion restrictions, and coronavirus-related laws, as well as redrawing election district boundaries for the next decade.

Updated 41 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

54 mins ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.

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