The Wisconsin Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the Republican Party last week, overturning Republican-drawn maps of legislative districts that were seen as unfairly biased toward the GOP. The court decided that the maps violated the state constitution and it ordered them to be redrawn and submitted by November 1st.
The ruling is sure to have a huge impact on the state’s politics, as the 2016 election was heavily affected by the newly-constructed districts. Some political scientists have suggested that the GOP gained as many as several extra seats due to the controversial maps.
The court decided unanimously that the maps were drawn with blatantly partisan intent, in bullying Democrats into “clustering” into certain districts and preventing them from forming a majority in others. This violated the court’s meaning of fairness, since the Supreme Court ruled that if two reasonable people—in their minds—drew up the districts, they should yield roughly the same result.
The decision has been applauded by Democrats who argue that the maps were designed to promote a certain political agenda and benefit the GOP, in a manner that undermined the spirit of democracy. On the other hand, Republicans have expressed dismay at the court’s decision saying they were only following the state’s constitution and creating fair districts.
The upcoming elections are now up in the air. How the newly drawn districts will favor one party over the other is unclear. Either way, this ruling will have a major impact on the makeup of the state legislature for the coming years and is sure to have a major effect on the political landscape of Wisconsin.