Redistricting Now Up to Citizen Action
U.S. Supreme Court decision leaves it up to voters to demand non-partisan redistricting.
The June 27th SCOTUS decision in Rucho v. Common Cause was pre-ordained when moderate conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retired a year a go and was replaced on the nation’s highest court by Trump‘s selection, the ultra-conservative, partisan and ill-tempered Brett M. Kavanaugh.
But the Supreme Court did not foreclose the possibility or ability of states to end partisan gerrymandering. Indeed, Chief Justice John Roberts decried the partisan map drawing and practically begged states to enact such reforms even as he cowardly backed away from utilizing legitimate judicial power to strike down unfair voting maps.
The U.S. Supreme Court has run away to hide. So be it. Onward and upward.
In May, Wisconsin Republican legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), and their GOP acolytes on the Legislative Joint Finance Committee (JFC) stripped the redistricting reform provision proposal that Gov. Tony Evers had included in his 2019-2021 state budget proposal.
Dozens of Wisconsinites testified in strong support of the “Iowa Model” redistricting reform measure at the four state budget hearings the JFC held around Wisconsin (in Janesville, Oak Creek, River Falls and Green Bay) during the month of April.
Nobody spoke against it.
The legislation is based on Iowa’s redistricting process which was developed and enacted into law in Iowa by Republican Governor Robert Ray and a Republican-controlled Legislature (both chambers) in 1980.
In the State Senate, the lead sponsor is Sen. Dave Hansen (D–Green Bay), who has introduced Senate Bill 288. In the Assembly, the lead sponsor is Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Waukesha), who has introduced an identical measure, Assembly Bill 303.
Now, it is time for you to do your part to help make ending partisan gerrymandering a reality in Wisconsin before 2021, when the next redistricting process will occur, following the 2020 Census. This week, before the 4th of July, please contact both your state senator and your state representative and demand that they co-sponsor and support Senate Bill 288 and/or Assembly Bill 303. If you are not sure who your state senator and/or state representative is, go here.
These measures have overwhelming citizen support all throughout Wisconsin. Now, state legislators need to adhere to the demands of their constituents to do the right thing. Support fair maps! Some legislators and their staff may tell you the U.S. Supreme Court has now said that their current, partisan gerrymandering system is the only way the redistricting process can occur. Not true! They absolutely could and should adopt the fair, non-partisan legislation (SB 288/AB 303) now ready for a public hearing and consideration by the full Wisconsin Legislature tomorrow, if they put the the public interest ahead of their narrow, partisan interest.
Here is more information about the “Iowa Model” reform measure and about the redistricting process in Wisconsin. You can also watch and listen to this video about the redistricting reform process in Wisconsin.
So take action and make your voices heard. On Wisconsin!
Jay Heck is executive director of Common Cause of Wisconsin, a non-profit dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy.
- The State of Politics: How Republicans Won Redistricting Fight - Steven Walters - Apr 25th, 2022
- Redistricting Update - Wisconsin Elections Commission - Apr 18th, 2022
- Gov. Evers Releases Statement Reacting to Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision Regarding Redistricting - Gov. Tony Evers - Apr 15th, 2022
- Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District Might Be Competitive Again - Shawn Johnson - Apr 15th, 2022
- Data Wonk: State’s Gerrymander Could Last Forever - Bruce Thompson - Mar 30th, 2022
- Op Ed: US Supreme Court Throws State Election Into Chaos - Ruth Conniff - Mar 27th, 2022
- Redistricting Case Returns to State Supreme Court - Shawn Johnson - Mar 25th, 2022
- Gov. Evers Releases Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision Regarding Redistricting - Gov. Tony Evers - Mar 23rd, 2022
- US Supreme Court Rejects State’s Legislative Maps - Shawn Johnson - Mar 23rd, 2022
- U.S. Supreme Court Reverses WI Supreme Court, Gov. Evers’ Maps Unconstitutional - Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty - Mar 23rd, 2022
Read more about Gerrymandering of Legislative Districts here