Supreme Court rejects Wisconsin legislative maps, victory for Republicans

Republicans who control the state legislature have filed an emergency request for the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the legislature redistricting case, saying Gov. Tony Evers moved too many voters to create an additional black-majority district that Democrats say was required by federal voting rights. Law (VRA).

In an unsigned opinion, the justices said the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision was flawed. “We agree that the court erred in law in its application of the decisions of this Court regarding the relationship between the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and the VRA,” the opinion states.

The Wisconsin court “felt that it should only find that the VRA could support race-based constituency – not that the law requires it,” the opinion said. “Our precedent indicates otherwise.”

The justices said the court should have considered “whether a racially neutral alternative that did not add a majority-black Seventh District would deprive black voters of equal political opportunity.”

The case was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court on an emergency basis, or what critics call its “shadow case,” in which judges make decisions without oral argument or extensive briefing.

Dissenting judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said that was a mistake.

“The Court’s action today is unprecedented,” Sotomayor wrote. “In an emergency posture, the Court summarily overturns a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision resolving a dispute over state redistricting, a decision issued after a 5-month process involving all interested stakeholders.”

The governor’s map and the one proposed by the legislature leave the GOP in command position to control the legislature.

The Supreme Court’s opinion said the Wisconsin court “is free to take additional evidence if it prefers to reconsider the governor’s cards rather than choose from among the other submissions.” However, any new analysis must be consistent with our equal protection case law.


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