COPY-Judges block suit seeking new legislative districts

MONTGOMERY, Ala. Three federal judges have blocked a Republican-inspired lawsuit that sought to redesign Alabama's legislative districts and make them more likely to elect Republicans.

The judges' decision leaves Alabama's current House and Senate districts in place for this year's elections.The three-judge panel said the Republicans' lawsuit can't proceed because it is too similar to earlier suits started by some of the same Republicans to challenge the design of legislative districts.Senate President Pro Tem Lowell Barron says the ruling by the three-judge panel in Mobile shows that the Legislature designed fair districts.The plaintiffs' lawyer, Mark Montiel, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.The Republicans' suit contended that some legislative districts held by Republicans were overpopulated and some districts held by Democrats were underpopulated -- all for the purpose of electing more Democrats.The Legislature designed the districts after the 2000 census.

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