VICTORY: Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Unconstitutional State Legislative Maps
Madison, WI — In a momentous victory for Wisconsin voters, today the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s noncontiguous legislative maps as unconstitutional.
“Democracy won today in Wisconsin — and all Wisconsin voters will benefit,” said Mark Gaber, senior director of redistricting at Campaign Legal Center and a native Wisconsinite, “Fair maps are the backbone of a healthy, responsive government. But for more than a decade, Wisconsin voters suffered under unfair and unconstitutional maps that denied them an equal voice in their state government. All Wisconsinites — no matter where they live in the state — deserve maps that give them a fair shot to elect leaders who will best serve their community, and today’s decision makes that a reality.”
On August 2, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center (CLC) partnered with Law Forward, the Election Law Clinic at Harvard Law School, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, and Arnold & Porter to file a lawsuit on behalf of individual voters who had their voices silenced by the unconstitutional state legislative maps.
Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the maps violate a provision of the state constitution requiring state legislative districts to be contiguous or, in other words, all parts of a district must be physically touching with no detached territory. 75 of Wisconsin’s 132 state legislative districts contain noncontiguous territory, and over two-thirds of Wisconsinites are living in either an unconstitutionally noncontiguous assembly or senate district.
The state legislature will have the opportunity to craft new maps that comply with the ruling. In order to have maps in time for the 2024 election, the court will move forward and accept proposals from the parties unless the legislature passes a new map. The court appointed Drs. Bernard Grofman and Jonathan Cervas to evaluate the parties' proposals and prepare maps, if necessary.
Thirteen years ago, Wisconsin lawmakers, behind closed doors and in defiance of the state constitution, drew new district lines that essentially guaranteed one-party GOP control of the legislature. In 2021 the Legislature’s proposed districts, which were ultimately adopted, increased the partisan skew of the 2011 maps and perpetuated blatantly noncontiguous legislative districts. Today’s decision provides Wisconsin voters with the opportunity to vote under fair maps.
More details about the lawsuit can be found here.