By Margo Kirchner
Wisconsin Justice Initiative and the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition (FMC) on Wednesday jointly filed a motion seeking leave to submit an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the redistricting case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The case concerns whether the present voting-district maps for the Wisconsin Legislature violate the Wisconsin Constitution’s requirements regarding contiguous districts and separation of powers between the three government branches.
Districting maps are to be adjusted every 10 years after census results are published.
The present districting maps were adopted by the Supreme Court in spring 2022 after the legislative process failed. Gov. Tony Evers vetoed redistricting maps passed by the Legislature, and the Legislature failed to override the veto.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court first adopted a set of maps that were invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court then adopted the same maps from the Legislature that Evers had vetoed.
When vetoing those maps, Evers referenced how highly partisan they were. He said he’d promised he would never sign gerrymandered maps and his veto delivered on that promise.
In their proposed brief, WJI and FMC argue from the viewpoint of the overwhelming number of Wisconsin citizens who demand nonpartisan district maps and whose voices are not being acknowledged by the Legislature. FMC is an umbrella organization of numerous local and regional fair-maps activist groups.
WJI and FMC contend that the court’s adoption of the current maps constituted an impermissible judicial override of Evers’ veto, in violation of separation-of-powers requirements in the state constitution.
WJI and FMC further argue that in crafting any new set of maps as a remedy, the court must take into account the partisan effects of those maps and the people’s demand for nonpartisan maps. WJI and FMC argue in their brief that by failing to consider the partisan effects of the maps it chooses, as the court did in 2022, the court actually acts in a partisan manner.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce also seeks leave to file an amicus brief. Notably, WMC states in its motion that it has a “strong interest” in the case because “WMC and its members have forged relationships with the representatives elected pursuant to the current maps” and “(m)embers of WMC have relied on political vows made by those same representatives.”
Other individuals and organizations seeking leave to file amicus briefs:
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