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Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court said that cases about partisan gerrymandering are "beyond the reach of the federal courts" — a blow to voting-rights activists and Democrats.

Why it matters: Today's ruling is a green light for gerrymandering to get even more aggressive. That will make it harder for minority parties to retake the reins of power — even in wave elections.

Details: The court was considering two specific instances of gerrymandering: A district in Maryland whose boundaries benefit Democrats, and North Carolina's legislative map, which was designed explicitly to help Republicans retain power.

  • "I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country," the architect of North Carolina's 2016 redistricting process said at the time.

The big picture: Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, didn't just say that those two specific instances of gerrymandering can stand. He said the federal courts will never draw a line to declare that any partisan gerrymander went too far.

  • How to draw legislative districts is a political question, Roberts said, and it's not the courts' place to decide "how much partisan dominance is too much."
  • States can answer that question for themselves, he said, by establishing nonpartisan redistricting commissions or changing their criteria.

The other side: "The politicians who benefit from partisan gerrymandering are unlikely to change partisan gerrymandering. And because those politicians maintain themselves in office through partisan gerrymandering, the chances for legislative reform are slight," Justice Elena Kagan wrote in a dissent joined by the other three liberal justices.

  • Kagan also warned that gerrymandering will keep getting more extreme as the technology behind it advances, citing the advanced computer modeling that helped produce North Carolina's GOP-advantaged map.

Go deeper: Supreme Court freezes citizenship question for 2020 Census

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.