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High Court To Weigh Three-Judge Rule For Redistricting Cases

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court will decide whether it was proper for a single federal judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging Maryland's 2011 congressional redistricting plan.

The justices on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from a group of Maryland residents who say their First Amendment challenge should have been reviewed by a three-judge panel.

Federal law requires a special panel of three judges to hear constitutional redistricting cases unless a single judge who initially considers the case decides it is frivolous or "obviously without merit."

After the residents filed their lawsuit, a district court judge decided it didn't belong before a full panel because it was based on theories the court had previously rejected.

The Maryland residents say any ruling that considers the merits must be heard by three judges.

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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