GOP lawmakers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a ruling by Wisconsin’s justices to put Gov. Tony Evers’ legislative and congressional maps in place for the 2022 elections.
And they want the nation’s highest court to order this fall’s elections to be held using the lines they drew — and Evers vetoed — as the merits of the case are debated.
Monday’s filing came as Republicans sought to overturn last week’s 4-3 ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, arguing it inappropriately signed off on seven majority Black Assembly districts that were drawn with race in mind.
“Wisconsin is now home to the 21st-century racial gerrymander,” the filing argues.
Republicans asked the Supreme Court to take several actions: stay the state court ruling pending a decision on their request for relief; issue an injunction that puts the GOP map in place for this fall, and to issue a ruling in their favor on the merits without any additional briefs or arguments on the merits.
Attorneys for GOP lawmakers argued the maps Republican legislators approved are “free from the taint of any racial predominance” and are “the natural choice for a substitute redistricting plan.”
They were joined in the filing by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, which represented several Republican voters who filed the original suit before the state Supreme Court.
U.S. Justice Amy Coney Barrett Monday ordered responses to the filing by 5 p.m. Eastern Friday.
Republicans on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to stay its decision as the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. As with that request, Monday’s filing focuses on seven majority Black Assembly districts that Evers drew in the maps he submitted to the court for review.
All seven have a Black voting age population of between 50.1 percent and 51.4 percent. The filing argues they were drawn with precision to maximize the number of Black majority districts without meeting the test the U.S. Supreme Court has laid out to determine when race can be considered in drawing lines.
The filing also knocks the state Supreme Court ruling for finding there were “good reasons” for the seven majority Black districts without doing a detailed analysis of why it believed that is the case.
It argued the Wisconsin court’s framework for its decision “makes no sense” and its refusal to scrutinize the guv’s “racial targets bears no resemblance to the strict scrutiny applied by” the U.S. Supreme Court for decades in redistricting cases.
“The Supreme Court of Wisconsin cannot so badly flout this Court’s precedent without correction,” the filing argues.
Read the filing here.
See the court docket here.
State Sen. Lena Taylor, who has been critical of the guv’s maps before, says she plans to file her own suit challenging them.
Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said she has retained a lawyer and will release details of her efforts at a later time. Taylor said she believes the Legislature should cover the legal fees, but she is willing to cover the costs on her own if necessary.
Taylor has criticized the guv’s maps for lowering the percentage of Black voters in legislative districts. She argues the concentration of Black voters isn’t high enough to give African-Americans the opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice. Among other things, she has argued various factors require those percentages to be higher.
“I don’t believe that anyone who properly looks at the districts thinks that these districts make sense,” she said.