State News

Gerrymandering here to stay, for now, after SCOTUS decision

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit that sought to prove that partisan redistricting had disenfranchised voters, instead forcing the plaintiffs to prove their case first to a lower court before being heard again.

Image By: Laura Mahoney

In what many anticipated as a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to decide the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering Monday, leaving in place Wisconsin’s current, Republican-drawn districts.

Rather than voicing an opinion in favor of either side in the case, the court rejected that the plaintiff’s had the standing to even bring the lawsuit forward.

This affirms the status quo for the immediate future — the outcome lends a hefty electoral benefit to state Republicans, at least until maps are redrawn after the 2020 U.S. Census.

“Wisconsin Republicans effectively silenced half the voters in our state — preserving their own political power and changing the rules to prevent voters from holding them accountable,” said Kelda Roys, a Democratic candidate for governor, in a statement. “They knew their decisions were unpopular, but rather than face the voters, they chose to rig the maps, change campaign finance laws, and suppress votes.”

The lack of a concrete decision leaves open the possibility of a future resolution if the plaintiffs can prove to a lower court that individual harm has been done.

The high court’s decision was never viewed as likely to impact the 2018 elections, but further delay puts the 2020 elections in the headlights as well.

Wisconsin Democrats, however, do not intend to wait that long.

“Today’s decision further demonstrates the need for non-partisan redistricting reform,” said state Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison said. “I continue to support a proposed bill that would place responsibility for drawing these maps in the hands of a non-partisan body such as Wisconsin’s Legislative Reference Bureau. Voters should have the right to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.”

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