Supreme Court Sides With Republicans in Case on Wisconsin Redistricting

The congressmen said the Wisconsin Supreme Court had performed a bait-and-switch in soliciting proposed maps. In November, the court said it would favor the map that minimized changes to the previous one. But it also indicated, according to the congressmen, that it would consider not only so-called core retention, a measure of voters who remained in their prior districts, but also whether new maps avoided splitting counties, municipalities and communities of interest.

But when the court chose a map in March, it “swapped its holistic least-change approach, which approach was to take account of multiple factors, for a core-retention-maximization-only standard that looked exclusively to the core-retention scores,” the congressmen told the Supreme Court in an emergency application.

The state court selected a map submitted by Mr. Evers, which retained 94.5 percent of voters in existing districts; the map submitted by the congressmen retained 93.5 percent. Both maps took account of other factors, the congressmen wrote.

In relying on only core retention, they wrote, the state court violated their due process rights. Had they taken notice of the state court’s actual criteria, they wrote, they would have submitted a different map.

Lawyers for the governor accused the congressmen of opportunism.

“It takes true chutzpah for petitioners to complain about a supposed bait-and-switch,” the governor’s lawyers wrote. “They urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to adopt a least-change approach that would ‘maximize core retention’; now they insist that the court violated their due process clause rights by prioritizing core retention.”

Lawyers for the congressmen added that the governor’s map had a second flaw: It deviated from perfect population equality by including districts with 736,714 people, 736,715 people and 736,716 people even though the “mathematically ideal” district would contain 736,714.75 people.

Here, too, the governor’s lawyers accused their adversaries of inconsistency, saying they had twice said the map satisfied equal apportionment. In any event, they added, “petitioners have not identified a single case striking down a map with a plus-or-minus-one deviation.”

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