Wisconsin Supreme Court tosses GOP-drawn legislative maps, orders new voting boundaries

The Wisconsin Supreme Court tossed out legislative maps drawn by Republicans, ordering new ones to be made.

Friday’s 4-3 ruling came from a liberal-controlled bench, with the majority stating that the legislative maps aren’t contiguous, or physically touching one another, thus violating the state’s constitution.

“Because the current state legislative districts contain separate, detached territory and therefore violate the constitution’s contiguity requirements, we enjoin the Wisconsin Elections Commission from using the current legislative maps in future elections,” Justice Jill Karofksy wrote.

Commenting on the ruling, Democrat Gov. Tony Evers said, “I remain as optimistic as ever that, at long last, the gerrymandered maps Wisconsinites have endured for years might soon be history.”

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The Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison.  (AP Photo/Scott Bauer/File)

“It’s clear to me that a Republican-controlled Legislature that has consistently gerrymandered itself into comfortable, partisan majorities for more than a decade is incapable of preparing fair, nonpartisan maps deserving of the people of this state. I agree with the Court’s determination that these maps are unconstitutional because the districts lack contiguity. Wisconsin is a purple state, and I look forward to submitting maps to the Court to consider and review that reflect and represent the makeup of our state,” Evers wrote.

Revised maps from both parties involved in the lawsuit are due by Jan. 12.

Dan Lenz, who’s an attorney for Law Forward, the organization that brought the lawsuit, called Friday’s ruling “a victory for a representative democracy in the state of Wisconsin.”

“For too long, rightwing interests have rigged the rules without any consequences,” Lenz said in a statement. “Gerrymandered maps have distorted the political landscape, stifling the voice of the voters. It challenges the very essence of fair representation and erodes confidence in our political system.”

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Heather Williams applauded the court for striking down the map.

“Wisconsin is one of the worst gerrymandered states in the country, and Republicans have robbed voters of true representation for far too long. We applaud the Wisconsin Supreme Court for finding these maps unconstitutional and urge that the next set of maps fairly reflect communities across the state. Make no mistake: this decision is a game-changer,” Williams said.

WI GOP-DOMINATED LEGISLATURE ASKS NEW DEMOCRATIC-BACKED JUSTICE TO RECUSE HERSELF FROM REDISTRICTING CASE

Janet Protasiewicz sworn into

Janet Protasiewicz, left, is sworn in for her position as a State Supreme Court Justice at the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda in Madison, Wis., in August. (Sara Stathas for The Washington Post via Getty Images/File)

Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler dissented from the ruling, writing that “This deal was sealed on election night.”

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“Four justices remap Wisconsin even though this constitutional responsibility is to occur every ten years, after a census, by the other two branches of government.  The public understands this.  Nonetheless, four justices impose their will on the entire Assembly and half of the Senate, all of whom are up for election in 2024. Almost every legislator in the state will need to respond, with lightning speed, to the newly minted maps, deciding if they can or want to run, and scrambling to find new candidates for new districts,” Ziegler wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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