The Wisconsin Supreme Court just issued a decision in Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission invalidating the current Assembly and Senate maps based on the petitioners' contiguity argument. The court ruled 4 to 3, with Justice Jill Karofsky writing the majority opinion. The court stated in pertinent part as follows:
¶3 We hold that the contiguity requirements in Article IV, Sections 4 and 5 mean what they say: Wisconsin's state legislative districts must be composed of physically adjoining territory. The constitutional text and our precedent support this common-sense interpretation of contiguity. Because the current state legislative districts contain separate, detached territory and therefore violate the constitution's contiguity requirements, we enjoin the Wisconsin Elections Commission from using the current legislative maps in future elections.8 We also reject each of Respondents' defenses. We decline, however, to issue a writ quo warranto invalidating the results of the 2022 state senate elections.
¶4 Because we enjoin the current state legislative district maps from future use, remedial maps must be drawn prior to the 2024 elections. The legislature has the primary authority and responsibility to draw new legislative maps. See Wis. Const. art. IV, § 3. Accordingly, we urge the legislature to pass legislation creating new maps that satisfy all requirements of state and federal law. We are mindful, however, that the legislature may decline to pass legislation creating new maps, or that the governor may exercise his veto power. Consequently, to ensure maps are adopted in time for the 2024 election, we will proceed toward adopting remedial maps unless and until new maps are enacted through the legislative process. At the conclusion of this opinion, we set forth the process and relevant considerations that will guide the court in adopting new state legislative districts——and safeguard the constitutional rights of all Wisconsin voters.
WJI will report more on this decision but wanted to get this news out to you. Here's the full opinion, including the dissents (all 225 pages).
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