SCOTUS to Hear Wisconsin Redistricting Case

On June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will review the legal challenge to the Republicans’ redistricting map. By 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court also granted Attorney General Brad Schimel’s request to stay the lower court’s order requiring a timely redrawing of the Assembly district map.

The redistricting case, Gill v. Whitford, was brought by Democratic voters against officials of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Last November, a panel of two federal district court judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals held 2-1 in a 159-page decision that the state assembly boundaries, drawn by Republicans in 2011, constituted partisan gerrymandering that was “intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters … by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats.” The court ordered the Wisconsin Legislature to timely enact a constitutional district plan for the Assembly districts or face having the court redraw the map.

The case is expected to have national implications, possibly setting a new standard for courts when determining whether a redistricting plan is constitutional if based on party affiliation of voters. The hearing on the case is expected to be scheduled for oral argument early in the term starting in October 2017.