Wisconsin’s Supreme Court hears arguments on state’s political maps

November 21, 2023

The Wisconsin state’s Supreme Court—which recently flipped to a liberal majority—was set to hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit to redraw the state’s political maps.

Wisconsin’s maps are among the most aggressively gerrymandered in the U.S.

In August, a long-promised lawsuit was filed by a coalition of law firms and voting rights advocacy groups on behalf of 19 Democratic voters in Wisconsin.

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. 

The plaintiffs also argue that the way the maps were most recently updated violated the separation of powers clause of the state constitution.

The suit was filed just one day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court flipped to liberal control for the first time in 15 years after the Democratic Party spent $8 million to get liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz elected the month before and tilt its seven Justices from a 4-3 conservative lean.

Protasiewicz has called Wisconsin’s current legislative maps “rigged.”

The court decided to hear the case in October—at a time when Wisconsin’s Republican State Assembly Speaker was threatening to impeach Justice Protasiewicz.

Republicans currently hold large majorities in both chambers of Wisconsin’s State Legislature, despite the electorate being evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. 

The original maps were created a decade ago under Gov. Scott Walker (R), and were adjusted after the 2020 census to give the GOP an even greater advantage. 

Wisconsin’s current governor is Tony Evers (D). 

PHOTO: Wisconsin state Supreme Court

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