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Wisconsin Supreme Court Approves GOP-Drawn State Maps

April 18, 2022 by Dan McCue
Wisconsin Supreme Court Approves GOP-Drawn State Maps
FILE - Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speaks at Cumberland Elementary School, July 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer, File)

MADISON, Wis. — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday approved new state legislative district maps drawn by Republicans in the state Legislature, tossing its earlier approval of maps submitted by the state’s Democratic governor.

The decision is the latest reversal in a dispute that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last month, justices in the nation’s highest court struck down the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Gov. Tony Evers’ maps, holding the lower court had not sufficiently considered whether his map complied with the federal Voting Rights Act.

The controversy began last fall, after Evers vetoed legislative maps drawn by the Republican legislature that he said were nothing more than a blatant partisan gerrymander.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court weighed in in March, siding with the governor, but Republicans then objected on the grounds Evers’ map created a new state assembly district in which Black voters held a majority.

The Republicans claim this made the Evers map an impermissible racial gerrymander and resulted in an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As noted above, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the state districts; however, it rejected a similar appeal by Republicans over Wisconsins’ congressional district map.

In its latest ruling, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Evers “had more than adequate opportunity to produce a sufficient record” supporting the creation of the new Black-majority assembly district and failed to do so.

It also said it found the Republican maps, “race neutral” and in compliance with state and federal law.

In a written statement posted to Twitter, Evers called the court’s decision “outrageous,” noting that the same court had “clearly and decisively rejected the legislature’s maps prior to this case being considered by the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Today, they have backtracked on that decision, upholding the very maps they had previously found to unlawfully ‘pack’ black voters,” he said.

“At a time when our democracy is under near-constant attack, the judiciary has abandoned our democracy in our most dire hour,” he continued, adding “Wisconsinites want a democracy, they want fair representation, and they want fair maps as they demanded of this government for 10 years.”

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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