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"The Supreme Court now has an opportunity to rein in partisan manipulation of the elections process, which has thwarted the will of the voters in numerous states", said Dale Ho, director of the voting rights project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Supreme Court will hear the case next term.
The challengers point to the 2012 election, the first after lawmakers drew the new map. "And by that metric, plaintiffs looked back at redistricting plans throughout the USA, going back to 1972, and Wisconsin's redistricting plan was one of the most strongly political gerrymandered in history".
Rep. Peter Barca, Wisconsin state Assembly Democratic minority leader: "Voters should be able to choose their representatives, not the other way around, and I have faith that the Supreme Court will do the right thing to help end the bad polarization we see in both Wisconsin and across America". Voting 5-4 along ideological lines in a separate order, the justices said state officials don't have to comply with a lower court order to put a new redistricting map into effect by November 1.
In states controlled by Republicans, Democrats have long complained that voting districts are created to disadvantage them. "As I have said before, our redistricting process was entirely lawful and constitutional, and the district court should be reversed".
Several Democratic voters joined a lawsuit contending this partisan electoral map violated their rights to an equal vote. But the court has never struck down a map because of partisan gerrymandering. The four liberals (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) dissented.
Those maps, drawn mainly in secret by Republican lawmakers, had achieved one of the clearest cases in modern political history of achieving a lasting advantage for Republican candidates, even though the state's voters are about evenly divided in their affiliation with the two major parties. "In this case, a lower court held that Wisconsin had indeed crossed that line", he told CNN.
The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a closely watched challenge to partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin and decide whether it is unconstitutional for party leaders to entrench themselves in power with carefully drawn electoral maps.
By taking up the case, the Supreme Court is essentially promising to rule on the merits of the efficiency gap as a means of determining whether an improper partisan gerrymander has happened - and, if one has occurred, on whether that violates either First or 14th Amendment protections.
The case will be argued in the fall.
They said the results under the legislature's map were "remarkably similar" to election outcomes under earlier, court-drawn districts. That work is proceeding.
As it now stands in the courts, the groups who control the map-drawing process can help to sustain their dominance and engineer the political agenda.
Republicans who control the state legislature assured the court that they could draw new maps in time for the 2018 elections, if the court strikes down the districts. "Well, in fact, we showed that there were multiple plans they could've drawn that would've treated both parties fairly, they just chose not to go with those plans", Greenwood says.