Commentary

U.S. Supreme Court hands Wisconsin GOP a victory on maps

March 23, 2022 4:11 pm
Supreme Court Room in the Madison Capitol Building in fully spherical panorama by Ryan Wick via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Supreme Court Room in the Madison Capitol Building in fully spherical panorama by Ryan Wick via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday hastily and recklessly interjected themselves into the Wisconsin redistricting process and handed the Republicans in the State Legislature a victory.

The justices threw out the legislative maps that Gov. Evers had drawn, and that the Wisconsin Supreme Court had approved. Instead, they threw the task of fixing the maps back onto the lap of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The decision centered on the fact that the Evers map had created a seventh majority-minority district in Milwaukee. The conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court said there was not sufficient justification for that, so they claimed it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent joined by Justice Elena Kagan, said that this decision was “unprecedented,” “extraordinary” and “unnecessary.”

She noted that there was “no Equal Protection Clause claim” before the Wisconsin Supreme Court when it accepted the Evers map, and that it had “rightly preserved the possibility that an appropriate plaintiff could bring” such a claim down the road.

But the hyper-partisan rightwing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court couldn’t bother to wait for that.

They overruled their own precedents from just a couple of weeks ago when plaintiffs from North Carolina and Pennsylvania asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the maps in those states and it refused to do so.

As Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote then: “It is too late for the federal courts to order that the district lines be changed for the 2022 primary and general elections.”

Well, it’s awfully late right now in Wisconsin to order new district lines. Candidates need to know which districts they are in so they can file their nomination papers any day now.

The rightwing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court swerved way out of their way to favor their Republican friends in the Wisconsin Legislature.

It is but the latest example of how nakedly partisan the high court has become.

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Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild

Prior to joining the Democracy Campaign at the start of 2015, Matt worked at The Progressive magazine for 32 years. For most of those, he was the editor and publisher of The Progressive.

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