U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments in Wisconsin redistricting case

Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

Wisconsin won’t have to redraw its Assembly district maps for now as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the arguments against them in what could be a landmark case on partisan redistricting.

The court Monday agreed to hear a challenge to the state’s maps, setting up the prospect of the justices establishing a new standard for a map being too partisan. But in a 5-4 decision, justices decided to put on hold a requirement that the state redraw its maps ahead of next year’s elections.

Monday’s orders come months after a three-judge panel ruled the maps Republicans drew in 2011 amounted to an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The panel of judges later asked Republicans to draw new maps by November — though the state DOJ had asked that be put on hold as justices make a final decision on the case.

Attorney General Brad Schimel said he was pleased the court granted DOJ’s request for a stay, saying it would have been a “waste of resources” for lawmakers to redraw the maps as the case was pending. And he said the state’s redistricting process “was entirely lawful and constitutional.”

“I am thrilled the Supreme Court has granted our request to review the redistricting decision and that Wisconsin will have an opportunity to defend its redistricting process,” he said.

The Fair Election Project, which organized the lawsuit against the state, said it was disappointed the maps won’t immediately be redrawn, though they can “still be redrawn in time for a fair election to be held in 2018.”

The group also expressed confidence the justices would uphold the earlier ruling.

“We proved in federal court that Democrats and Republicans are pretty evenly clustered throughout the state and that Democrats in Wisconsin have had their rights violated,” said Sachin Chheda, the group’s director. “Now this story will be told on a national stage.”

See more reaction in Press Releases: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/06/19/?arcf=cat:19

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