RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Federal judges have approved North Carolina legislative districts redrawn by an expert they hired to address their concerns about continued racial bias with some boundaries and new constitutional violations.

The three-judge panel signed off Friday on changes made by a Stanford University law professor appointed as a special master. The changes to two dozen House and Senate districts would be used in this fall's elections.

The court brought in the expert to redo maps approved last summer by the Republican-controlled General Assembly after the same judges ruled districts initially approved in 2011 were illegal racial gerrymanders.

GOP legislative leaders say the maps approved in August were lawful and criticized the judges for hiring the special master. They have said they plan to appeal Friday's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.