Friday, December 22, 2023

Gerrymander is gone! But replacement's not here yet

Well, Happy Holidays to those of us with a drop of decency in Wisconsin.

It's a nice first step, although I don't see why the 4 liberal justices are giving Robbin' Vos and company another chance to draw up a map when these lowlifes have shown they can't be trusted. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has previously said March 15 is the deadline for the new lines to be in place for the August primary that decides the candidates for the November election, but I don't see a "drop dead date" in this decision for the Court to step in.

I'm looking through the decision to see some hints on how that new map might be determined by the Court. There is no timetable given for when these maps get decided, but it looks like two things will be happening at the same time. The Legislature and Governor Evers can try to come to some kind of compromise map (HAH!), and the Court members will be at work drawing their own maps and getting inputs from all sides on how to draw those maps.
The process by which the court will adopt remedial maps will be set out in an order issued concurrently with this opinion. In broad strokes, all parties will be given the opportunity to submit remedial legislative district maps to the court, along with expert evidence and an explanation of how their maps comport with the principles laid out in this opinion. The court will appoint one or more consultants who will aid in evaluating the remedial maps. Parties will have the opportunity to respond to each other, and to the consultant's report.

We set out this process in order to afford all parties a chance to be heard, while bearing in mind the need for expediency given that next year's elections are fast-approaching. We begin our process now instead of waiting to see whether the legislative process results in new maps. In other words, both the legislative process (should there be one) and our process will proceed concurrently. This will allow the court to adopt remedial legislative maps in time for the upcoming elections if legislation creating remedial maps is not enacted.
I also found this interesting nugget, which says the GOP majority's 2022 made-up rule of "least change" (from the original 2011 gerrymander) as a baseline is not going to happen in 2024.
....We cannot allow a judicially-created metric, not derived from the constitutional text, to supersede the constitution. Conceivably, least change (if actually agreed upon) could be relevant to traditional districting criteria, commonly considered in redistricting but not constitutionally or statutorily mandated. See infra, ¶68. In that instance, least change would be secondary to the constitutional requirements and balanced with other factors, such as "preserving communities of interest." However, Johnson I did not adopt a cabined approach to least change. Instead, Johnson I declared that the overarching approach to adopting remedial maps was for them to "reflect the least change necessary" from the previous maps. See Johnson I, 399 Wis. 2d 623, ¶72.

¶63 As illustrated across the course of the Johnson litigation, "least change" is unworkable in practice. As such, we overrule any portions of Johnson I, Johnson II, and Johnson III that mandate a least change approach.....It is impractical and unfeasible to apply a standard that (1) is based on fundamentals that never garnered consensus, and (2) is in tension with established districting requirements. Here we must first focus on established districting requirements set out in state and federal law, and only then on other districting criteria....
The Court says it'll consider partisan impact and try to minimize any advantage, but also will make sure other factors like equal population, minimizing community splits and minority representation are part of the equation as well.

And given that it was a main argument used to invalidate the maps, these new districts are sure to be contiguous without islands in the middle of them, so we don't get districts like this ridiculous one in the Madison suburbs, which included a cutout for the now-eliminated Town of Madison.

We'll see if the Legislature and/or Evers even try to come up with a new map over the 2-3 months (I see no requirement that they HAVE to), or if they'll just let the Court come up with the solution on their own. It's not like the Court doesn't have a plethora of maps to choose from, given how many of us have paid attention this issue over the last 13 years.

Heck, I got mine right here. Use em for free!

EDIT - Looks like the four ladies on the good side of the Court are not going to allow the GOPs to slow-walk this thing. They know what's up.

No comments:

Post a Comment