Wisconsin GOP Appeals Redistricting Loss to Supreme Court

By Matthew Vadum
Matthew Vadum
Matthew Vadum
Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist and a recognized expert in left-wing activism.
March 14, 2022Updated: March 14, 2022

Wisconsin Republicans are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject an electoral map drawn by the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, which they say is racially skewed, in favor of one crafted by the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin voted 4–3 to adopt congressional and legislative districts drawn by Evers over those prepared by the legislature. The maps adopted still reportedly favor Republicans, but by smaller margins than the Republican-drafted maps.

Republicans approved maps in 2011 when they controlled the legislature and the governorship, but this time, the Democratic governor and the Republican legislature couldn’t agree on new maps after the 2020 Census results were published. State justices were asked to draw the maps to be used in the next elections.

Currently, six state Assembly districts have a black majority, but the maps provided by the governor would raise that number to seven, according to an analysis by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Republicans currently hold five of the state’s eight congressional seats, while Democrats hold three.

Republicans stated in the emergency application (pdf) filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that Evers’s maps “mark a radical redraw from Wisconsin’s past redistricting plans” and that they make Wisconsin “home to the 21st-century racial gerrymander.”

“In Wisconsin—just as everywhere—racially gerrymandering districts perpetuates the very harm that the Voting Rights Act was enacted to eliminate,” Republicans wrote in the application.

The case is Wisconsin Legislature v. Bostelmann, court file 21A471. Marge Bostelmann is a member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The emergency application was addressed to Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Evers filed a response to the application with the high court on March 11. The legislature responded to Evers’s filing on March 12.

The Supreme Court could act on the application at any time.

“Race dominated the drawing and adoption of this plan, the product of an untheorized and deeply wrong rewriting of the Voting Rights Act,” the application reads. “These court-ordered districts, each touching Wisconsin’s largest city of Milwaukee, mark a radical redraw from Wisconsin’s past redistricting plans.

“Previously, there were six majority-Black assembly districts and two majority-Black senate districts that ranged between 51 and 62 percent Black voting-age population. All were wholly contained in Milwaukee County. But now? By order of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Wisconsin election officials must intentionally dial down the Black voting-age populations of these existing districts to meet the new quota of 50 percent.”

In his reply to the application, Evers said the electoral maps devised by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin should be left alone.

“Over the past five months, the State of Wisconsin—through its highest court—has exercised its sovereign responsibility to devise legislative maps. To ensure a fact-driven and thorough process, the Wisconsin Supreme Court received four rounds of briefing and hundreds of pages of expert reports, held a five-hour oral argument, and issued two comprehensive and careful opinions,” the reply reads.

“Ultimately, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted a final legislative map on a schedule consistent with unanimous and bipartisan guidance from the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC), which saw a serious risk of disruption and confusion if the map were not finalized by March 1, 2022. WEC based that advice on a detailed description of the State’s electoral calendar, its own experience with the State’s highly decentralized election system, and the need for arduous (sometimes manual) work at both the state and county level to implement new districting data in advance of deadlines that are now a mere month away.”

In their submission to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Republican brief “blows past all this, paying virtually no heed to the facts on the ground or this Court’s recent orders[,]” according to Evers’s reply.

“They also ask this Court in the first instance to issue an unprecedented injunction—one that would require Wisconsin to use a map that failed in the State’s political process, that the State’s map-drawer did not adopt, and that (as the court … noted) is ‘problematic’ under the Voting Rights Act,” it reads.

The Epoch Times reached out for comment to Thomas Charles Bellavia and Joshua Adam Matz, the counsel of record for the Wisconsin Elections Commission and Evers, respectively. No replies were received as of press time.