U.S. Supreme Court upholds SC redistricting lines

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's redrawn state house and congressional maps are being allowed to stand.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday summarily affirmed a federal court's ruling that South Carolina's new lines are fair and don't discriminate.

Six black voters sued, claiming the GOP-dominated state Legislature drew lines that segregate white and black voters into election districts and pack black voters into one congressional district. They called it "voting apartheid."

But a federal panel says plaintiffs provided no convincing evidence that legislators drew the lines to dilute the voting power of blacks.

An attorney for voters who sued and a spokesman for state House Speaker Bobby Harrell didn't immediately comment on the decision.

Redistricting is a once-a-decade process to ensure political district lines reflect population changes as shown by the U.S. Census.

South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued the following statement:

"The approval of these Redistricting maps at every level speaks volumes about how well thought out and fair this entire process was. This final ruling affirms the legitimacy of the most inclusive, responsive and transparent redistricting process our state has ever gone through.

"These maps were a product of extensive input and guidance from the public, House and Senate members and our entire SC Congressional Delegation. As this ruling affirms, these maps were fair, legally sound and truly represented the will of our citizens and communities of interest around our state.

"This affirmation by the US Supreme Court confirms what most of us have known from the start, that this lawsuit was a frivolous, poorly guided last ditch effort of political motive"