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U.S. Supreme Court Tosses Recently Adopted Wisconsin Redistricting Plan

By John Cronin

In a 7–2 decision released Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision the Wisconsin Supreme Court delivered three weeks ago on new state legislative district maps. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a similar request to overturn congressional boundaries set by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. A brief timeline:

  • November 11, 2021 – GOP-controlled Legislature passes new legislative and congressional maps
  • November 18, 2021 – Dem. Governor Tony Evers vetoes those maps
  • November 30, 2021 – Wisconsin Supreme Court sets “least change” approach to analyzing proposed maps parties submit to the Court
  • January 19, 2022 – Wisconsin Supreme Court oral arguments on redistricting case, proposed maps submitted by interested parties (Legislature, Governor, Wisconsin members of Congress, etc.)
  • March 3, 2022 – Wisconsin Supreme Court delivers a 4–3 ruling in favor of maps Gov. Evers submitted to the Court (Ziegler, R. Bradley, and Roggensack dissent)
  • March 7, 2022 – GOP-controlled Legislature appeals the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing the Governor’s maps adopted by the Court were inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In question were seven districts fully or partially located in the City of Milwaukee.
  • March 23, 2022 – U.S. Supreme Court rules the Wisconsin Supreme Court erred in their application of Court decisions on the guarantee of equal protection and the Voting Rights Act. (7–2 decision, Justices Sotomayor and Kagan dissent)
What’s next?

The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to either select a different map submission or reconsider the Governor’s maps in a manner consistent with the Court’s opinion today.

An April 15 deadline looms: this will be the first day legislative candidates may circulate nomination papers to get on the ballot for the Fall election.