The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday adopted Republican-drawn boundaries for the next 10 years, reversing its previous decision after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Democrat governor’s proposal.
The state Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision in favor of maps drawn by Republicans, with Justice Brian Hagedorn joining fellow conservatives on the court.
The majority determined the redistricting maps to be “race neutral” because they did not consider race in drawing them.
Maps drawn by Governor Tony Evers (D) factored race to increase the number of Black majority Assembly districts from six to seven.
The map drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature had five Black majority districts.
BREAKING: Wisconsin Supreme Court, in 4-3 ruling, approves REPUBLICAN redistricting maps. Absolute Huge Win!
— Officer Lew (@officer_Lew) April 16, 2022
Gov. Evers called it “an outrageous decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.”
“At a time when our democracy is under near-constant attack, the judiciary has abandoned our democracy in our most dire hour,” he added.
BREAKING: Today’s redistricting decision by #SCOWIS is outrageous. At a time when our democracy is under near-constant attack, the judiciary has abandoned our democracy in our most dire hour. This is an unconscionable miscarriage of justice. My full statement here ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/jVjJpyr4AT
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 15, 2022
ABC News reported:
“The maps proposed by the Governor … are racially motivated and, under the Equal Protection Clause, they fail strict scrutiny,” Chief Justice Annette Ziegler wrote for the majority, joined by Justices Patience Roggensack, Rebecca Grassl Bradley and Brian Hagedorn.
The Legislature’s maps, they wrote, “are race neutral” and “comply with the Equal Protection Clause, along with all other application federal and state legal requirements.”
Hagedorn, a conservative swing justice, initially backed Evers’ map but reversed himself once the matter came back before the court. In a separate concurrence, he wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court decision required the state court to adopt a race-neutral map, and the Legislature’s maps “are the only legally compliant maps we received.”
The court’s three liberal justices — Jill Karofsky, Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet — dissented. Karofsky, writing for the minority, said the Legislature’s maps “fare no better than the Governor’s under the U.S. Supreme Court’s rationale.”
“If, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Governor’s addition of a Milwaukee-area majority-minority district evinces a disqualifying consideration of race, then the Legislature’s removal of a Milwaukee-area majority-minority district reveals an equally suspect, if not more egregious, sign of race-based line drawing,” Karofsky wrote.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos tweeted praise for the ruling, saying Republicans “have thought our maps were the best option from the beginning.”