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WASHINGTON, May 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday blocked lower court rulings that had ordered Republican legislators in Michigan and Ohio to redraw U.S. congressional maps ahead of the 2020 elections after finding that the current districts were designed to illegally diminish the power of Democratic voters.

The justices granted requests from Republican lawmakers in both states to stay those decisions. The lower courts found that the electoral maps had been drawn to entrench the majority party in power, a practice known as partisan gerrymandering, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

While both disputes involve U.S. House of Representatives districts in the two states, the Michigan case also challenges districts in the state legislature as well.

Visitors walk in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.? Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg Visitors walk in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. The decisions in Michigan and Ohio that were put on hold by the justices were the latest rulings by federal courts determining that electoral maps designed by a state's majority party unconstitutionally undermined the rights of voters who tend to support the other party.

Two other gerrymandering challenges are already pending at the Supreme Court, with rulings due by the end of June. In one case, Republican legislators in North Carolina are accused of rigging congressional maps to boost their party's chances in that state. In the other case, Democratic lawmakers in Maryland face similar allegations over one U.S. House district.

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