Supreme Court Upholds Challenge To Wisconsin Voter Suppression


Voting rights lawyer Marc Elias reported this week that the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected a request from Republican state legislators in Wisconsin for a case challenging redistricting plans to be thrown out. As explained by the voting rights organization Democracy Docket, the original case “argues that, due to political gridlock between Wisconsin’s governor and legislature, reapportioned maps will not be enacted in time for 2022 elections,” and thus, the filing “asks the court to declare the current maps unconstitutional and implement new maps that adhere to the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote.”

As also summarized by Democracy Docket, Wisconsin state legislators had argued that the lawsuit is “premature” and fails to show proper standing to bring the case at all on the part of the plaintiffs, but the Supreme Court rejected this motion — although the court does not appear to have issued any explanation of its reasoning. Still, it’s worth observing how, even with a Trump and Senate GOP-backed conservative majority in place, the Supreme Court can be the venue for (even small) victories for voting rights, as the original court challenge in question is now remaining intact. Currently, it’s on hold until early next year.

Last month, Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers vetoed legislative districts that had been approved by Republican state legislators, observing that the lines kept previous unfair advantages for the Republicans largely in place — although Trump didn’t even win there in 2020, so it’s not as though the state is overwhelmingly Republican. Evers said at the time that while “other politicians in this state abuse their power to try and predetermine our elections, as they try to create controversy where there is none, as they try to discredit the hard work of our election administrators and poll workers who helped ensure we had a free, fair, and secure election last November, I will not.” He added that the issue hinged on “elected officials having the courage to do the right thing when it mattered most. And the members of this Legislature failed to deliver.”

As summarized by the Associated Press, Evers’s veto decision “officially shifts the fight over the once-a-decade job of drawing new political boundary lines for legislative and congressional districts to the courts.” State courts will be taking the lead, for now, as judges apparently dealing with the same federal lawsuit reported on by Elias have indicated that they’ll be declining to move until a state court case plays out. Read more here.