Dem state Sen. Lena Taylor, of Milwaukee, is arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that neither Gov. Tony Evers’ maps nor the ones drawn by GOP lawmakers comply with the Voting Rights Act.
Taylor has been critical of both the lines that Evers’ Peoples’ Maps Commission originally proposed and the different map that the guv eventually submitted to the court. She is the first Dem to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Wisconsin justice’s 4-3 ruling putting those lines in place.
Taylor argues in a new filing that the Voting Rights Act requires Wisconsin to draw districts that allow Black voters the opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice and there is “no dispute” that it’s possible to draw seven majority Black Assembly districts in the Milwaukee area as Evers did.
She also argues the Wisconsin Supreme Court erroneously ruled that Evers’ maps comply with the Voting Rights Act. That’s because the districts don’t have sufficient enough Black populations to ensure Black voters could nominate their preferred candidates.
“It would be a reliable Democratic district, to be sure, but it would not provide Black voters
with the opportunity that the Voting Rights Act requires,” the brief argues about one of the seven seats.
Meanwhile, Taylor argues the GOP map created too few majority Black districts. The Republicans’ map has five majority Black districts compared to the six that have been in place over the past decade. But the filing argues one of those five also doesn’t have sufficient numbers to give Black voters the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice.
Taylor’s brief argues the appropriate number of majority Black districts is six or seven, if they can be drawn in a way that gives Black voters the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice. It doesn’t suggest a benchmark the court should use, but argues the Wisconsin justices should do a more substantive analysis in deciding the appropriate number of districts.
Taylor has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider her brief as it weighs whether to accept an appeal by GOP lawmakers seeking to overturn the state justices’ decision to use Evers’ maps for Wisconsin’s new lines. They’re asking the court to put the maps Republicans approved — and Evers vetoed — in place while the case is heard.
Taylor wasn’t a party to the lawsuit before the state Supreme Court that led to the Wisconsin justices picking Evers’ maps as the new lines for the state. She is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her arguments as the nation’s justices weigh whether to overturn that state ruling.
The filing asks the U.S. Supreme Court to put on hold the maps the Wisconsin justices approved, but to deny the request from GOP lawmakers to put their lines in place. Instead, it asks the court to either direct the 2022 elections to proceed under the lines Republicans drew in 2011 or to send the case back to the Wisconsin justices for further proceedings.
The state’s GOP members of Congress also have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Wisconsin justices’ ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t indicated when it may decide whether to take the cases. There was a deadline Tuesday for responses to the filing from the U.S. House members.