Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers proposed the 10-year legislative and congressional district maps that would maintain Republican majorities in the legislature but prevent them from claiming a veto-proof supermajority. The new slate legislature maps would create an extra 7th Black-majority district. When the maps were brought up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, they ruled in favor by a split decision on a 4-3 vote–citing the maps were good because they aligned with the “least change” approach.
As CNN reports, the Supreme Court allowed the use of a map configuring Wisconsin’s congressional districts for this year’s elections. However, they granted Republican requests to block new maps for Wisconsin’s state legislature in a separate ruling. The court claims the Wisconsin Supreme Court “committed legal error in its application of decisions of this Court regarding the relationship between the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and” the Voting Rights Act.
The unsigned opinion issued by the Supreme Court stated the maps were “the sort of uncritical majority-minority district maximization that we have expressly rejected.”
It’s the first time this redistricting cycle that the court has overturned maps drawn by a state. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a dissent joined by Justice Elena Kagan, stating, “this Court’s intervention today is not only extraordinary but also unnecessary,” she wrote. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled on a 5-4 vote that it was “too close to the election” for Alabama to reconfigure their congressional district map that hurts Black voters in their state. With the Wisconsin primary only months away, the court sent Wisconsin’s case back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and ordered it to adopt new maps laying out the various districts.
Governor Tony Evers provided a statement about the ruling.
“Our maps are far better than Republicans’ gerrymandered maps we have now and their maps I vetoed last year, and we are confident our maps comply with federal and state law, including the Equal Protection Clause, the Voting Rights Act, and the least-changes standard articulated by the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” Gov. Evers said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.