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Court affirms Mississippi district lines

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled state courts "have no role" in redrawing congressional district lines if legislators fail to act.

The decision results from an ongoing dispute over which map should have been used in congressional elections after two incumbent members of Congress were placed in the same district when Mississippi lost a seat following the 2000 census.

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The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports the court ruled it is proper for federal, rather than state courts, to take up the matter of drawing district lines if Mississippi's elected officials fail to complete the task on time.

At issue were competing maps that placed two incumbents -- Democrat Ronnie Shows and Republican Chip Pickering -- together in a new 3rd Congressional District.

The Mississippi Democratic Party sought to force the use of a map drawn by a Hinds County chancery judge favoring the Democrat. A competing map drawn by a federal court was said to favor the Republican, who won the election.

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