Wisconsin leaders will be hard at work over the coming weeks after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the maps used to draw district lines were unconstitutional. The heart of the matter is the legislative “islands” outlined in the Republican-drawn and Governor Tony Evers-drawn maps. That breaks up the contiguous nature of the maps, potentially breaking up municipalities and county boundaries. In a statement following Friday’s decision, Evers said, “Wisconsin is a purple state, and I look forward to submitting maps to the Court to consider and review that reflect and represent the makeup of our state. And I remain as optimistic as ever that, at long last, the gerrymandered maps Wisconsinites have endured for years might soon be history.” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos signaled in his statement the future destination of this decision, saying that “the case was pre-decided before it was even brought. Sad day for our state when the State Supreme Court just said last year that the existing lines are constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court will have the last word.” Rep. Joel Kitchens, who has championed using the Iowa model as a fair, non-partisan way of drawing the maps, says the decision was very political.
Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck celebrated the decision, saying that he expects the legislative islands will be drastically reduced or eliminated when the new maps are created. He also expects the decision will be appealed.
Whatever the future has in store, it will have to come quickly. Heck believes all of the evidence and testimonies will have to be wrapped up and submitted by the middle of February so the courts can decide the direction it wants to go by March 15th, when the districts have to be finalized before the fall election.