CNN: A fair maps success story or 'multi-layered stages of Dante's Hell'? Where redistricting commissions worked -- and didn't work -- this cycle
"One of the upsides, even when you have a lousy commission, is that you have created enough of a record for the court to review and be able to create some alternative that is fair," said Kathay Feng, the national redistricting director at the voting rights organization Common Cause.
The court battle has gotten ugliest in Ohio, where voters will be casting ballots in congressional districts that the state Supreme Court says were unconstitutionally drawn.
Feng pointed to an "escape hatch" the legislature created in the competing proposal it put forward for creating a commission, where "even if a partisan or racial gerrymander has been found, a court may not impose a remedy by itself."
"It has to go back to the legislature to be drawn," Feng said. "And so that circular, multi-layered stages of Dante's Hell has been imposed on Ohio."