Lawsuit asks newly-liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court to toss GOP-drawn maps

August 2, 2023

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Wisconsin asks the state Supreme Court to toss out Republican-drawn legislative maps as unconstitutional.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court flipped to liberal control on Tuesday for the first time in 15 years, after the Democratic Party spent $8 million to get liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz elected last month and tilt its seven justices away from a 4-3 conservative lean.

The  long-promised lawsuit was filed by a coalition of law firms and voting rights advocacy groups. The suit claims that the GOP-gerrymandered maps violate the Wisconsin state constitution by retaliating against some voters based on their viewpoints and free speech; treating some voters worse than others because of their political views and where they live; and defying the promise of a free government enshrined in the state constitution.

By taking their lawsuit directly to the state Supreme Court, its backers hope that new maps will be in place before the 2024 election.

Since 2011, when Republican operatives drew up new redistricting maps in secret, Wisconsin has reportedly been one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. New maps drawn up in 2021 expanded Republicans’ advantage, in large part because the conservative-leaning state Supreme Court at the time ruled to choose state legislative maps that made the “least changes” from the 2011 maps. 

The new lawsuit asks that all 132 state lawmakers be up for election in 2024 in newly-drawn districts. In state Senate districts that are halfway-through a four-year term next year, the suit asks that special elections be held, the winners of which would serve two years each. Regular four-year Senate terms would resume in 2026.

PHOTO: Wisconsin State Capitol

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