Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns Republican-drawn legislative maps

Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns Republican-drawn legislative maps

Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns Republican-drawn legislative maps By Reuters

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Published Dec 22, 2023 06:48PM ET
Updated Dec 22, 2023 07:05PM ET

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(Reuters) – The Wisconsin Supreme court on Friday ordered that legislative maps designed by the Republican-controlled legislature be redrawn, handing Democrats a victory in what has become a key political battleground state.

The Supreme Court justices, in a 21-page ruling, sided with the left-leaning nonprofit group Law Forward, which sued to overturn the maps as unconstitutional because many of them were not contiguous.

The redrawn congressional map is likely to make two Republican-held seats more competitive, according to analysts. Republicans hold six of eight seats despite Wisconsin’s status as a swing state, meaning a state that is typically competitive between Republicans and Democrats.

This year the most expensive state Supreme Court election campaign in U.S. history resulted in a new liberal majority. The winning candidate, Janet Protasiewicz, who was sworn in in August, had called the Republican-drawn maps “rigged” during the campaign.

“Because we enjoin the current state legislative district maps from future use, remedial maps must be drawn prior to the 2024 elections,” Justice Jill Karofsky wrote for the court’s 4-3 majority.

“Today’s decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court is a victory for a representative democracy in the state of Wisconsin,” Law Forward said in a statement. “For too long, right-wing interests have rigged the rules without any consequences.”

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Annette Ziegler accused her liberal colleagues of partisan motives in the ruling.

“Giving preferential treatment to a case that should have been denied smacks of judicial activism on steroids,” Ziegler wrote.

“Democrats have decided to try elections in the courtroom rather than actually earn voters’ trust at the ballot box. By throwing out these maps, left-wing jurists on the Wisconsin Supreme Court have usurped both their authority and the will of the majority of Wisconsinites who favor keeping existing districts,” Brian Schimming, chair of the state Republican Party, said in a written statement.

A similar legal fight is ongoing over congressional maps in Georgia, where lawsuits claim Republican-drawn district lines illegally diluted the voting power of minority residents near Atlanta.

Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns Republican-drawn legislative maps

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