The appeals court found that Wisconsin’s map was meant to entrench one party in power over the life of the districting plan.
The justices will hear the case in the fall.
If the Legislature is forced to draw new maps, they’d have to be more competitive, which would give Democrats a better shot at winning legislative seats than they have right now.
Wisconsin’s attorney general appealed to the Supreme Court. The two top Republicans in the Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, say they’re confident the Supreme Court will affirm the GOP maps.
Meanwhile, the dozen plaintiffs – voters across the state – said the evidence laid out at the trial in the case showed that “Republican legislative leaders authorised a secretive and exclusionary mapmaking process aimed at securing for their party a large advantage that would persist no matter what happened in future elections”.
The current congressional map was implemented in 2011. As I have said before, our redistricting process was entirely lawful and constitutional, and the district court should be reversed.
Sachin Chheda is director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit.
If the Court strikes down Wisconsin’s ruling, watch for other red states to follow suit – just as they did when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder.
Supreme Court to decide whether partisan…
The redistricting process in Wisconsin also had support from outside conservative groups.
The four more liberal justices, named to the court by Democrats, would have let the new line-drawing proceed even as the court considers the issue.
Federal courts have previously ruled that maps that employ “racial gerrymandering” are unconstitutional.
The case involves the state of Wisconsin, where ruling Republicans have been accused of taking partisan measures to redraw boundaries in their favor, but the court decision could have implications for the rest of the United States.
It will be the high court’s first case in more than a decade on what’s known as partisan gerrymandering. In March, a panel of judges ruled that three of the state’s 36 congressional districts were illegally drawn. And “that work is proceeding”. Democratic voters are clustered in cities such as Milwaukee and Madison, while Republican voters are more evenly spread out.
“Although a majority of the court has suggested that states can violate the Constitution if they draw legislative districts primarily to benefit one political party, the justices have never been able to identify the specific point at which states cross the constitutional line”.
The justices could say as early as Monday whether they will intervene.
Last year, a citizen-led group in IL collected over half a million signatures to get a question on the general election ballot to change the state constitution, allowing for an independent commission to oversee the map-making process. Packing takes place when one party’s backers are concentrated in a few districts that they win by overwhelming margins.