This means that court ordered cards favoring Democrats will continue to be used.
The decision will have an immediate impact on Virginia's fall legislative elections at a crucial time. The state, once a reliable Republican, slowly left the left. The Republicans have not won the statewide run since 2009, but they have stood firm in both the Senate and the House. This fall, all state legislative seats must be re-elected and the GOP has only a two-seat advantage in both houses.
If the court had ruled in favor of the Republican challenge, it would have greatly improved their chances of retaining the House of Delegates. Twenty-six districts of the House were realigned by an outside expert after a lower court declared 11 unconstitutional districts.
Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg prepared the opinion in a 5-4 court, which included Judges Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch.
Since the Supreme Court rejected the challenge on permanent grounds, the judges did not rule whether the cards constituted an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.
"A chamber of its bicameral legislature alone can not pursue the dispute against the will of its partners in the legislative process," wrote Ginsburg.
"If the state had appointed the House to represent its interests, and if the House had indeed fulfilled that mission, we would agree that the House could take the place of the state." prerequisite is however fulfilled here. "
In a statement released Monday, House of Commons chair Kirk Cox said the battle for electoral boundaries was not over.
"Unfortunately, the Court's decision not to rule on the merits of this case leaves a number of unanswered questions barely two years before the next redistricting cycle," Cox said. "This could have been avoided if Attorney General (Mark) Herring had defended Commonwealth law and allowed the court to rule on the merits of the case."
"The US Supreme Court has dismissed the Virginia Republicans' efforts to protect racialized districts.The elections this fall in Virginia will take place in fair constitutional districts.This is a good day for democracy in Virginia, "wrote Herring.
Former US Attorney General Eric Holder, who chairs the National Democratic Dismemberment Committee, an organization whose goal is to end Republican gerrymandering, said in a statement Monday that the court's decision "is a major victory for African Americans in Virginia who have been forced since 2011 to vote in racist districts that have unfairly diluted their voting power. "
"With a new card just in place, all Virginians will finally (finally) have the opportunity, this fall, to elect a House of Delegates that truly represents the will of the people," Holder said.
Beyond the immediate consequences of this fall's election, this decision could have a far-reaching impact on Virginia's policy. If the Democrats overthrow one or the other or both houses this fall, they will be in a good position to control the next round of redistricting after the 2020 census.
Suzanne Malveaux of CNN contributed to this report.