The state Supreme Court has agreed to accept amended versions of the maps submitted by Gov. Tony Evers and another set of parties.
But it refused to allow the state’s GOP House members to submit an alternative to the first map they proposed, drawing the ire of three conservative justices.
The court’s original order in the case limited parties to submitting a single version of maps for the state’s legislative and congressional boundaries. Evers and the group of plaintiffs, which includes Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, earlier this month asked the court to accept a corrected version of their maps.
The majority found those corrections were contemplated by the order to submit just one map.
The GOP House members, however, wanted the court to consider an alternative map while “expressly standing by their initial map.” The court found that amounted to the congressmen wanting the court to accept two maps.
But Justice Pat Roggensack accused her colleagues of having a double standard for Evers and the other plaintiffs compared to the GOP House members.
In her dissent, Roggensack argued the Evers and BLOC maps have “very significant changes.” She noted Evers’ corrected Assembly map, for example, has 115 municipal splits vs. 174 in the original submission.
The state DOJ, which is representing Evers in the suit, argued in its motion to accept the amended map that the changes were minor. The corrections were intended to remove inadvertently splitting “very small segments of some municipalities, leaving zero-population or very small population remnants,” according to the brief.
Roggensack argued the court “should permit all to refile their maps or no party should do so.”
Roggensack was joined in her dissent by fellow conservatives Rebecca Bradley and Annette Ziegler.
The court hasn’t publicly ruled on whether it will hear oral arguments in the redistricting suit, but Roggensack hinted they’re coming.
Roggensack wrote in her dissent from the order, “I don’t know whether the second map the Congressmen would like to submit will be helpful or not. It is possible that it would have provided no more than what we actually will hear in rebuttal during oral arguments later this month.”
The court had a deadline yesterday morning for the parties to weigh in on whether oral arguments were needed. The justices had earlier set aside up to four days starting Jan. 18 for oral arguments, if needed.
In a separate order, the court directed the parties to provide overlays of their proposed maps that will help show differences in the competing proposals.
The court earlier ruled 4-3 that the proposed maps should adhere to a “least-change” approach to the existing lines that Republicans drew in 2011.
The order directed the parties to agree on standardized versions of the current maps and the new lines that have been submitted for consideration.
The uniform maps should be submitted as pdf documents that can be enlarged. The court also wants the maps on transparency sheets that can be used to highlight differences between the maps.