Gov. Tony Evers’ lawyers are asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take additional testimony on the legislative maps that he proposed.
The letter comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Wisconsin justices had failed to do the analysis necessary to support Evers’ proposal to create a seventh majority Black Assembly district.
The guv yesterday asked the Wisconsin court to set an April 1 deadline for briefs that address the Voting Rights Act issues raised by the U.S. justices in their 7-2 ruling, with replies due by April 15.
As an alternative, the state Department of Justice offered to have Evers submit changes to the districts he proposed in Milwaukee to have six majority Black districts rather than the seven he earlier suggested. There are six majority Black districts under the lines Republicans drew in 2011.
The letter argues no “other path is tenable,” because the existing lines are unconstitutional due to population shifts and the Legislature’s map has problems under the Voting Rights Act. That’s because those maps would create five majority Black Assembly districts with a sixth that falls below 50 percent for the Black voting age population.
Lawyers for the Legislature wrote a letter to the court as well, saying the guv’s requests should be denied and the Legislature’s Assembly and Senate maps should be adopted.
In the letter, they argue if the guv had additional evidence to submit, he should have done so months ago and say the court should take up the Legislature’s “race-neutral” maps.
“The parties and the voters of Wisconsin cannot be made to shoulder the cost and waste of time it will take for the Governor to try (again) and fail (again) to prove his plan is legal,” they wrote.
Attorneys for Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de la Frontera, the League of Women Voters Wisconsin and other petitioners called on the court to take up additional testimony as Evers requested.
They added if the court decides changes to the seven majority Black districts are needed, it should use the governor’s proposed Assembly plan as a base map and allow parties to submit proposed changes to the seven districts based on that map.