Redistricting case headed to the Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court has decided to take on the Wisconsin redistricting case. This is important to be aware of in the coming months. They will likely be hearing arguments in the case in October of this year and have put a stay on the lower court’s ruling, effectively ensuring there will be no new maps drawn by the initial November deadline.
The original federal court decision found the 2011 Republican gerrymandering of legislative districts unconstitutional. The court ordered the legislature to adopt new legislative districts no later than Nov. 1, but it did not specify a process for the legislature to follow or what criteria would satisfy constitutional requirements. The Supreme Court decision will now have the possibility to lay out what that criteria would be if a similar decision was met.
If the Supreme Court affirms the lower court decision, the decision will likely include criteria for determining when partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Republicans currently enjoy overwhelming majorities in both houses of the Wisconsin legislature because of partisan gerrymandering. My hope is that the Supreme Court agrees that the maps were unconstitutionally drawn and goes on to provide guidance for future processes and a path to solve this problem before the 2018 elections. Failure to address this issue will have a lasting impact, setting the stage for another decade of elections that do not reflect voter preferences.