In an excoriating dissent, Elena Kagan and the supreme court’s liberal justices accused the court’s majority of shirking its constitutional duty

On Thursday morning, the supreme court voted 5–4 to withdraw from questions of partisan gerrymandering, with the court’s five most conservative justices in the majority. The ruling effectively gives states the ultimate power to decide on the legality of voting maps, and leaves in place extreme cases of partisan redistricting in states such as Maryland and North Carolina.

Related: Supreme court gerrymandering decision raises alarm as Kagan issues searing dissent – live

At its most extreme – as in North Carolina and Maryland – the practice amounts to 'rigging elections'

Related: US supreme court ruling allows partisan gerrymandering to continue

This extract has been edited for length and clarity. You can read the full dissent here.

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