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Democrats, Republicans react to state Supreme Court ruling on district maps

Posted at 10:21 PM, Dec 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-22 23:24:49-05

DE PERE (NBC 26) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled four to three on Friday in favor of re-drawing the current legislative district maps.

Justices Janet Protasiewicz, Jill Karofsky, Ann Bradley and Rebecca Dallet are in the majority. Justices Brian Hagedorn, Rebecca Bradley and Annette Ziegler all dissented.

Now that the court has ruled, two things will happen at the same time.

Legislators will start re-drawing the district maps, in a way the governor must agree with in order for them to become the new borders.

But, just in case the legislature cannot come up with a map the governor is willing to sign off on, the court will bring in a team of third-party experts and start drawing new maps of their own.

Milwaukee-based political reporter Charles Benson said the new districts will no longer have other boundary lines drawn within them. As they are drawn right now, some districts have smaller districts drawn within them, like landlocked islands.

"In essence, if you put a pencil down and draw the [new] map, you would never have to pick up the pencil," Benson said over Zoom Friday afternoon. "I don't think they do it by pencil these days, but that would be the analogy."

Democratic Governor Tony Evers wrote in a statement: "I agree with the Court's decision that these maps are unconstitutional because the districts lack contiguity. Wisconsin is a purple state, and I look forward to submitting maps to the Wisconsin Court to consider and review that reflect and represent the makeup of our state."

Republican Speaker Robin Vos wrote in a statement: "I said this was going to happen earlier this week. 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."

"That's going to be interesting," Benson said of Vos' statement. "Because, you know, state courts get to determine how their elections are run and how maps are drawn. So, we're waiting to see what it is specifically that might trigger what the appeal might be, and what it is that the U.S. Supreme court will look at [in this case]."

Benson said the ruling does not mean any legislators will be up for election ahead of schedule, and the new map must be completed by mid-March 2024.