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GOP lawmakers ask Wisconsin Supreme Court to reconsider redistricting ruling, schedule for new maps

Motion filed Thursday says court's Jan. 12 deadline for new maps can't be met

A wide view of the Senate chambers showing the seats and rotunda ceiling.
The Wisconsin State Senate chambers on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Republican lawmakers have asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to stay and reconsider its finding that the state’s legislative district boundaries are unconstitutional.

Attorneys representing a host of Republican state Senators filed a motion with the court Thursday saying they can’t meet the court’s Jan. 12 deadline for new maps. They also argue the court didn’t listen to their arguments in the case and didn’t give them a chance to respond to the deadline for new boundaries. They asked the court to stay all proceedings until it decides on the motion.

The legislative electoral maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 cemented the party’s majorities, which now stand at 64-35 in the Assembly and a 22-11 supermajority in the Senate.

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Democrats filed a lawsuit in August arguing the maps are unconstitutional and give the GOP an unfair advantage. They filed the action a day after liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn in, flipping the court’s majority to 4-3 liberal control.

The court ruled on Dec. 22 that the current boundaries are unconstitutional because they aren’t contiguous. Many districts include sections of land that aren’t connected, resulting in maps that resemble Swiss cheese.

The court ordered the Legislature and other parties involved in the lawsuit to produce new maps by Jan. 12, with supporting arguments due 10 days later. The court likely will release new maps sometime in late February or early March unless the Legislature acts first.

State elections officials have said maps must be in place by March 15 to be in play for the 2024 election.

For more on the history of redistricting in Wisconsin and how it impacts political power in the state, check out WPR’s investigative podcast series, “Mapped Out