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New Mexico high court to hear congressional maps challenge

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court is expected to hear a case this week challenging the state's new congressional maps.

The hearing scheduled Monday would come about three months after the high court ordered a stay in proceedings in a lawsuit brought by the state's Republican Party, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The newspaper said the GOP contends the newly redistricted maps of New Mexico's three congressional districts amount to a political gerrymander.

Democratic defendants contend that the congressional maps are a policy matter that falls under the state Legislature's purview.

If the state Supreme Court sides with the Republicans, the case would go back to the district court level where it started early last year.

The hearing is the latest chapter in a still-evolving story about the often contentious process of redrawing the maps for state legislative and congressional seats every 10 years after the census.

Under the previous map, Republican voters in southeastern New Mexico were mostly grouped within a single congressional district, creating one district that usually elected a Republican and two that usually elected a Democrat.

Now, the plaintiffs say, those voters are split among all three of the state's congressional districts, diluting their voting power.