Madison, Wisconsin. (AP) – The liberal-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in a hearing Redistricting A situation that Democrats hope will yield new legislative maps more favorable to elections in 2024 that will help them eliminate the large Republican majority.
The case is being closely followed battlefield Wisconsin is a state where four of the past six presidential elections have been decided by fewer than 23,000 votes, but where Republicans built a large majority in the Legislature under maps they drew more than a decade ago.
Democratic voters who submitted lawsuit The court, which heard Tuesday, argues that the maps passed in 2022, which differ little from those drawn in 2011, are “irredeemably” unconstitutional and should be repealed and redrawn. The Legislature counters that Democrats are exercising “raw political power” and are trying to take advantage of the court’s new liberal majority to overturn its decision. Ruling 2021 Which adopted current maps.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is controlled by 4-3 liberal justices, following Justice Janet Protasevich’s election win in April. She called the GOP’s maps “unfair” and “rigged” during the campaign, prompting Republicans to threaten to… isolation her even before she heard the case. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has backed down for now, but kept the threat alive if she votes to repeal the maps.
Democrats want the court to invalidate the legislative maps, draw new ones, and order elections under those maps for all 132 state legislators in 2024. If the court rules that way, the case is certain to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is unclear whether a ruling will be issued in time for the 2024 election.
The Legislature argues that if new maps are requested, nothing should be enacted before the 2026 election.
Lawsuits are still ongoing in more than a dozen states over U.S. House and state legislative districts enacted after the 2020 Census. New York is among the most notable. The highest court in the country I heard the arguments last week on whether an independent redistricting commission should take further action on drawing congressional districts. Democrats hope that redrawing will help them gain seats and perhaps a majority in the House of Representatives.
The New Mexico Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments on an appeal of a lower court’s ruling that rejected the Democratic-led Legislature’s assertions that the Democratic-led Legislature illegally gerrymandered the state’s congressional districts. Last week, a federal judge in North Dakota to rule The state legislative districts drawn by the Republican majority violate the voting rights of two Native American tribes and must be redrawn by December 22.
The issue for Democrats in Wisconsin centers on whether the trend has come or not The areas are not contiguous And if they violate the separation of powers principle in the Wisconsin Constitution.
A majority of current legislative districts — 54 of 99 in the Assembly and 21 of 33 in the Senate — violate the state Constitution’s contiguity requirements, lawyers challenging the maps have argued in their court filings.
This makes Wisconsin an outlier nationally, as 46 other states have noncontiguous districts, while Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Tennessee have a total of nine noncontiguous districts, attorneys said.
Lawyers for the Legislature argued that Wisconsin’s redistricting laws, backed by state and federal court rulings over the past 50 years, allowed districts under certain circumstances to be noncontiguous. Even if the court decides to address the issue, Republicans said, it could only affect so-called districts where the districts are not contiguous and not upend existing district lines.
Those seeking new maps assert that the Supreme Court violated the principle of separation of powers when it adopted the map drawn by the Republicans and drawn by the Democratic governor. Tony Evers had previously objected to “inappropriately usurping the powers which the Constitution gives itself to other branches”.
Legislative election maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 It strengthened the party’s majoritywhich now stands at a 64-35 majority in the Assembly and a 22-11 supermajority in the Senate.
Since gaining the majority in 2011, Republicans have enacted a wide range of conservative priorities. They have all but eliminated collective bargaining for public sector workers, and since 2019 have been Blocks On Evers’ agenda, Fired Evers’ appointees And Threat of impeachment From Protasevich W State election leader.
Republicans are also just two seats away from a supermajority that would allow them to override Evers’ veto.
Wisconsin’s General Assembly districts rank among the most gerrymandered nationally, with Republicans routinely winning far more seats than expected based on their average share of the vote, according to Associated Press analysis.
Associated Press writers David Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Harm Veenhausen in Madison contributed to this report.