Their ruling, due by June, could have an impact on US elections for decades by setting standards for when electoral districts are laid out with such extreme partisan aims that they deprive voters of their constitutional rights.
But Kennedy gave few hints as to whether he was satisfied that the Democratic challengers to the Wisconsin map had offered a manageable standard that could separate unconstitutional maps from legitimate ones.
The case originated in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, who occupies the seat that Senate Republicans held open until Donald Trump could fill it, spent much of the argument poking holes in Smith's claim that there is a "workable standard" that can be used to assess gerrymanders. The amendments laid out principles that districts in Florida must be compact and contiguous, and they can not be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party.
From the questions asked by the justices, it is clear why the high court has long avoided a ruling that would put it in the business of deciding how legislators should group people into political communities.
Ginsburg, Never Shy: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have none of what Gorsuch was saying about the lack of any role for the courts in redistricting under the Constitution.
The court battles are at the forefront of Democrats' bid to win back the almost 1,000 state legislative seats the party lost during Barack Obama's presidency - a blow that Obama himself is now attempting to help reverse by raising money for the redistricting group.
Legal experts say a decision in support of those challenging Wisconsin's districts could have ripple effects in states like Pennsylvania, where Republicans have held 13 of the 18 U.S. House since the last redistricting process. The Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest USA administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, refused to cancel his expulsion because the law involved defines burglary as a "crime of violence".
"If it's the most partisan map they could draw, why isn't it enough to prove partisan gerrymandering" that violates rights, she asked. Five of the court's justices have joined since the Vieth case, making their views on the issue more hard to gauge. Using his famous "Terminator" voice, Schwarzeneggar said that, "it's time to terminate gerrymandering". "What's this court supposed to do, a pinch of this, a pinch of that?"
The Supreme Court, which now has a 5-4 conservative majority, for decades has been willing to invalidate state electoral maps on the grounds of racial discrimination but never those drawn simply for partisan advantage.
But Smith said this outcome would not be surprising because partisan and racial gerrymandering cases are fundamentally different. In 2010, however, Republicans won control of both houses of the Legislature and the governorship and produced a redistricting plan.
The high court, however, has never before struck down a state's election districts simply because they were unfairly partisan.
"We still have a shot on the current map, but if we have fair maps, we could see real progress", Post said.
"What incentive is there for a voter to exercise his vote?"
Whitford involves the Wisconsin state assembly maps - maps that were drawn to make it virtually impossible for Republicans to lose their majority. Gerrymandering continues to foster a paralyzed and dysfunctional Congress that can't tackle the big problems facing America. The party's majority has since expanded. Though several justices were so engaged that Chief Justice John Roberts had to step in to stop his colleagues from interrupting one another, no one asked Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall to explain why the Justice Department switched sides on the issue after President Donald Trump took office, leaving the National Labor Relations Board as the lone government agency to argue (2017 WL 3447770) that mandatory individual arbitration provisions are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.
The new term ends at the end of June. If the Court "illegitimately invades" that domain, he warned, it will "invite the losers in the redistricting process to seek to obtain in court what they could not achieve in the political arena".