Elections have ripple effects on all kinds of issues. However, the most significant impact happens when it comes to legislative maps.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Wisconsin’s newly-drawn Congressional map in a decision Wednesday, The Guardian reported. This is a win for Republicans since the current iteration is unfairly beneficial to Democrats.
After the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature failed to pick a map, the state supreme court chose one drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. It added a seventh district that was drawn along lines around black-majority population which the U.S. Supreme Court recognized was unfair.
“[The governor’s] main explanation for drawing the seventh majority-Black district was that there is now a sufficiently large and compact population of Black residents to fill it – apparently embracing just the sort of uncritical majority-minority district maximization that we have expressly rejected,” the majority decision said.
“He provided almost no other evidence or analysis supporting his claim that the [Voting Rights Act] required the seven majority-Black districts that he drew.”
In other words, Democrats may have used the VRA to their unfair advantage. “The question that our VRA precedents ask and the court failed to answer is whether a race-neutral alternative that did not add a seventh majority-Black district would deny Black voters equal political opportunity,” the court determined.
Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor called this rejection “unprecedented” in the dissenting opinion.
“In an emergency posture, the Court summarily overturns a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision resolving a conflict over the State’s redistricting, a decision rendered after a 5-month process involving all interested stakeholders,” Sotomayor wrote.
“Despite the fact that summary reversals are generally reserved for decisions in violation of settled law, the Court today faults the State Supreme Court for its failure to comply with an obligation that, under existing precedent, is hazy at best,” the opinion stated. Now the issue will go back down to the lower court.
No matter who draws the maps, the other party accuses them of partisanship. However, it’s not unreasonable in this case to send the matter back to the state court for further vetting.