WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out Wisconsin state legislative maps that were preferred by the state’s Democratic governor and selected by Wisconsin’s top court.
Republicans had complained that Gov. Tony Evers’ maps moved too many people to create more districts with a majority of Black and Hispanic voters in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. But while the justices in an unsigned opinion threw out voting maps the Wisconsin Supreme Court had selected for the State Assembly and Senate, they left in place state congressional maps. The state’s highest court selected the maps from a range of options after lawmakers couldn’t agree.
The justices sent the case back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, saying it is “free to take additional evidence if it prefers to reconsider the Governor’s maps rather than choose from among the other submissions.” They said their action would give Wisconsin’s high court “sufficient time to adopt maps” in time for the state’s Aug. 9 primary.
Two justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, said they disagreed with their colleagues’ decision.
The Legislature redraws Wisconsin’s congressional and legislative district maps every 10 years to reflect population changes. The process, known as redistricting, can solidify the partisan majority in the Legislature for a decade. With the stakes so high, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican lawmakers couldn’t agree on a plan, leading to both sides asking the state Supreme Court to choose between each side’s maps.
Democrats would have made some marginal gains under Evers’ plan but Republicans would maintain their majorities in the Assembly and Senate, according to an analysis from the governor’s office.