WILL Asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to Take Jurisdiction of Redistricting

Published on: Aug 23, 2021

Original action, on behalf of four voters, requests judicial apportionment plan

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed an original action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court urging the Court to declare the current legislative districts unconstitutional and establish a judicial plan of apportionment. WILL represents four Wisconsin voters who live in legislative districts that, as a result of the 2020 Census, now have their vote unconstitutionally diluted, counting less than if they lived in a different district.

The Quote: WILL President and General Counsel, Rick Esenberg, said, “Adopting new legislative maps is a state responsibility. If the legislature and governor cannot agree, it is entirely appropriate – even necessary – for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a branch of state government, to pass a judicial apportionment plan to adopt constitutional maps.”

Background: The Wisconsin Constitution guarantees that every voter is entitled to equal representation summarized in the principle of ‘one man, one vote.’ But the results of the 2020 Census reveal that population increases and decreases in Wisconsin have rendered Wisconsin’s legislative maps unconstitutional. Voters who currently reside in districts that have seen population increases now have their votes diluted, potentially violating their constitutional rights.

The state legislature and the governor are tasked with approving new legislative maps. But in all likelihood, divided government will result in an impasse that will require a judicial plan for apportionment.

While federal litigation has already commenced, both the United States Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court have made clear that reapportionment is primarily a responsibility of the state legislature and courts. While the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to adopt a rule for such cases earlier this year, it made clear that the absence of a rule did not preclude the exercise of jurisdiction.

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