On Thursday, a panel of federal judges said that the new election district lines drawn by the State Senate and Assembly majorities will be used in the fall elections.

The decision is a significant victory for the Senate Republicans, who are hoping to increase their slim majority in 2013, despite a statewide Democratic voter advantage of nearly 2-to-1 in the state.

While the decision does not end the litigation over redistricting, it means that the courts are unlikely to overturn the revised legislative district lines that were signed into law by Gov. Cuomo in March.