State Watch

Wisconsin Supreme Court approves Democratic governor’s congressional maps

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has approved Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’s congressional maps, which give Republicans an edge in a number of state races.

In a ruling filed Tuesday, the court said in a majority opinion that it chose Evers’s maps because they “produce less overall change than other submissions” and “satisfy the requirements of the state and federal constitutions.” Additionally, the court said the maps were drawn in accordance with the federal constitution’s population equality requirement.

The approval came after the court ruled 4-3 in November that it would take a “least changes” approach to the state’s legislative and congressional maps that had been in existence since 2011, which effectively limited any changes to political boundaries to population changes.

Those maps favored the GOP, so the November ruling in effect ensured that the new maps would also give Republicans an edge, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. All of the maps proposed — by Evers, GOP lawmakers and others — leaned Republican.

Under Evers’s proposal, roughly 324,000 Wisconsin voters will be put into new congressional districts, which is about 60,000 fewer than would have been moved under the maps GOP lawmakers put forth, according to the Journal Sentinel reported.

The court’s decisions regarding Wisconsin’s new redistricting lines came after Evers vetoed a pair of GOP-backed maps in November, calling them “gerrymandering 2.0.” He had previously vowed to reject the maps if they were sent to his desk for signature.

In its ruling, the state Supreme Court ordered the Wisconsin elections commission to adopt Evers’s map.

Democrats, Republicans or nonpartisan groups, however, may still object to the maps by reviving a federal lawsuit to change the lines approved by the court, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Annette Ziegler wrote that the justices in the majority were showing “a complete lack of regard” for the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions.

“I dissent because here, the majority’s decision to select Governor Tony Evers’ maps is an exercise of judicial activism, untethered to evidence, precedent, the Wisconsin Constitution, and basic principles of equal protection,” she wrote.

Tags Redistricting Tony Evers Wisconsin Wisconsin Supreme Court

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