The U.S. Supreme court ruled unanimously that the 12 Democratic voters challenging how the state draws legislative maps didn’t have legal ability to do. The court says the plaintiffs were affected by their district, but not by the map as a whole.
The court ruling gives the plaintiffs a chance to continue their case with the possibility to go back to trial in a lower court, though the lawsuit could extend beyond the next round of map-drawing slated for 2021.
In 37 states including Wisconsin, lawmakers redraw district maps every 10 years.
In 2016, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a slim margin in the presidential race, but Republicans took a 64 to 35 majority in the Assembly.
Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition, the League of Women Voters and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign held a rally at the state capitol today in response to the ruling.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Matt Rothschild said Wisconsin does not necessarily need to wait for the case to go back to court to make the maps fair.
“We don’t need to wait for the lower court, we don’t need to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court,” Rothschild said. “All we need to do is express our voices as loudly as we can to the people who are running for office in November right here in Wisconsin, and demand of each and every one of them that they sign that pledge to give us fair maps in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin League of Women Voters president Debra Cronmiller said she remains optimistic despite the ruling.
“The League believes the current redistricting process protects the party in power — whichever party it is — and if it’s not open and transparent, it is not carried out in the interest of voters,” Cronmiller said.
“But Wisconsin can still write the law. So far, 39 of 72 of Wisconsin counties have passed resolutions and supportive and non-partisan redistricting process,” she said. “Lawmakers in the Wisconsin capital need to be accountable to voters, to support this legislation that will take the power of map drawing out of partisan control and give it to an independent body with plenty of public input in the interest of fairness and democracy.”
League of Women Voters member Marie Calhoun said she came from Milwaukee to join the rally because she feels redistricting needs to be addressed before anything else can be.
“Nothing can really be fixed until we fix the maps,” Calhoun said. “So, until these maps are not rigged and these politicians don’t have to answer to us – that’s the main problem. Because they are so secure in their seats they do not have to listen to the rest of the people.”
State Republican leaders issued a statement saying they fulfilled their constitutional duty and followed the law while creating the maps.
Cameron Bren reported this story for WORT.