WASHINGTON, D.C. — This afternoon, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted new legislative and congressional maps after the court took over the redistricting process. Last fall, Gov. Tony Evers (D) vetoed state House, state Senate and congressional maps passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, creating an impasse. Simultaneous federal and state cases filed in anticipation of this impasse then moved forward, with the state Supreme Court assuming control of the process for the first time since the 1960s. The court asked the parties to submit map proposals that took a “least-change” approach, meaning that the new maps had to be as similar as possible to the maps enacted in 2011, and reviewed the proposals during an oral argument held in January. For a full breakdown of this impasse litigation, you can read here.
In the 4-3 opinion written by the court’s swing justice, Brian Hagedorn, the court adopted the proposals submitted by Evers for new legislative and congressional districts. The court found that Evers’ maps best complied with the least-change approach while also abiding by state and federal redistricting criteria. Regarding the state’s eight congressional districts, “core retention — a measure of voters who remain in their prior districts — is the best metric of least change, and the map submitted by Governor Evers easily scores highest.” Regarding the legislative maps, the majority concluded that Evers’ proposals “produce less overall change than other submissions.” Finally, the court found that “there are good reasons to believe a seventh majority-Black [state Assembly] district is needed to satisfy the VRA,” which Evers’ plan includes.