OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
Heading into the 2022 midterm elections Democrats are facing a tough fight and the way things keep going for them it is not going to get any easier.
On Tuesday the Wisconsin Supreme Court sided with Republicans in a redistricting case that should keep the state’s boundaries intact for a decade, MSN reported.
In a 4-3 ruling, the court’s conservative majority said it would take a “least changes” approach to Wisconsin’s current legislative and congressional maps, effectively limiting any changes in political boundaries to population changes.
The ruling means that the court will make as few changes as possible to political maps drawn and adopted in 2011.
Democrats argued that those old maps – which were approved by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by a Republican governor – were drawn to give the GOP a distinct political advantage and that the new maps should be redone entirely.
The state leadership is split with a Democrat governor in Tony Evers, who had vetoed the maps put forth by the Republican legislature this year.
But in its ruling, the court said there was no reason for it to step in because the maps already passed muster.
“The existing maps were adopted by the legislature, signed by the governor, and survived judicial review by the federal courts,” the decision, by the conservative majority court, said. “Treading further than necessary to remedy their current legal deficiencies…would intrude upon the constitutional prerogatives of the political branches and unsettle the constitutional allocation of power.”
“We adopt the least-change approach to remedying any constitutional or statutory infirmities in the existing maps because the constitution precludes the judiciary from interfering with the lawful policy choices of the legislature,” it said.
The court also said that it would not consider the political fairness of the maps because “partisan fairness presents a purely political question, we will not consider it.” Justice Rebecca Bradley said.
“Such claims have no basis in the constitution or any other law and therefore must be resolved through the political process and not by the judiciary,”
Attorney General Josh Kaul decried the court’s decision, saying it is a “major blow to our freedom.”
“It almost certainly ends all hope for anything remotely resembling fair maps in Wisconsin for at least the next decade—and quite possibly much longer,” he said. “For a court to rule that a court-drawn map must be based on an extreme partisan gerrymander is simply stunning.”
Fair Elections Project Director Sachin Chheda also complained about the decision, saying the majority of the court “has once again demonstrated its loyalty is to the Republican Party, not the laws of Wisconsin.”
“Whatever comes from this corrupt nonsense, if it’s not fair to our state, it shouldn’t be accepted by federal courts, and most importantly, it won’t be accepted by the people of Wisconsin,” she said.
Gov. Evers used the decision in an attempt to fundraise on Twitter.
“Folks, our democracy is at a crossroads. And I know where I stand–on the side of the people. Whether it’s #fairmaps or nonpartisan oversight of our elections, I’m in favor of making our democracy more robust and accessible. Are you with me?” he said in a tweet thread followed by a plea to donate to his campaign.
“If you’re with me — if you want to be a champion for democracy, too — join the thousands of supporters and contribute to our campaign today,” he said.
If you’re with me — if you want to be a champion for democracy, too — join the thousands of supporters and contribute to our campaign today:https://t.co/FyiWwIiNzu
— Tony Evers (@Tony4WI) December 1, 2021
There is a federal lawsuit pending on the state redistricting maps, brought by Democrats, but it is uncertain if the federal courts who step in after the state Supreme Court has completed the case.