The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ legislative maps that Wisconsin’s justices had approved in a 4-3 ruling and sent the case back to state court for further proceedings.
Wednesday’s ruling found the state court had erred in approving Evers’ proposal to draw a seventh majority Black Assembly district. There are six under the lines that have been in place for the past decade.
The 7-2 majority found Wisconsin’s Supreme Court had failed to answer whether “a race-neutral alternative that did not add a seventh majority-black district would deny black voters equal political opportunity.”
The court found that would require an “intensely local appraisal.”
“When the Wisconsin Supreme Court endeavored to undertake a full strict-scrutiny analysis, it did not do so properly under our precedents, and its judgment cannot stand,” the majority ruled.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented in the 7-2 ruling, which they called “unprecedented.”
Sotomayor wrote such reversals are “generally reserved for decisions in violation of settled law,” but the majority faulted the Wisconsin Supreme Court for “for its failure to comply with an obligation that, under existing precedent, is hazy at best.”
In its ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court found the Wisconsin justices are “free to take additional evidence if it prefers to reconsider the Governor’s maps rather than choose from among the other submissions.” That could open door to new maps being submitted by parties.
Meanwhile, the court also — without comment — denied a request by the GOP members of Wisconsin’s House delegation to overturn the congressional map that Evers had drawn and the state justices had approved.
See the order on the legislative maps.
See the order on the congressional maps.