Wisconsin Supreme Court poised to strike down gerrymandered voting districts

Plus, several legislative victories signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer


After hearing three hours of oral arguments today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court could overrule the electoral map for the state’s highly gerrymandered districts. In Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, the plaintiffs argue that the district organized by Republican-led legislators violates the state’s constitution, and the four liberal judges on the court seem sympathetic to the case. 

After all, over the past decade — despite securing as much as 53% of the statewide vote — Democrats “have held no more than 39 of the 99 Assembly seats,” according to the legal advocacy group Law Forward. Meanwhile, “Republicans have won as little as 44.8% of the statewide vote, they have held no fewer than 60 of the 99 Assembly seats.” 

However, this time around, the court is more focused on the fine print of the constitution rather than political fairness. In 2021, that route proved ineffective. Per The Guardian, “the state supreme court took over the redistricting process after Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, vetoed a GOP-drawn plan.” 

The conservative-led court then went with a new map “drawn by Evers, but that map was rejected by the US supreme court. The state supreme court then chose a different plan submitted by legislative Republicans. It was the same map Evers had vetoed in 2021.” 

The Wisconsin Constitution clearly states that districts must “be bounded by county, precinct, town or ward lines, to consist of contiguous territory and be in as compact form as practicable,” but 75 out of 132 legislative districts involve irregular, separated appendages that violate that clause. 

Even if these technicalities seem like legal nitty gritty, such arguments may prove to be the achilles heel of the GOP’s long-standing grip on power. 

Here’s a palate cleanser of some charming, dedicated Wisconsinites to counteract the dry jargon: 

 Yesterday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed into law a coalition of gun violence prevention legislation that prevents those convicted of domestic violence from purchasing, owning or possessing firearms up to eight years after being convicted. The landmark policies update existing red flag laws that forbids those found guilty of violent crimes like domestic violence from acquiring guns. 

“Keeping Michiganders – especially young women – safe and healthy is a top priority, and these bills will take long overdue steps to protect individuals from abuse,” Whitmer said in a statement.

 “As a former prosecutor and as governor, I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation to prevent abusers from accessing firearms. Together, we can make Michigan a safe and welcoming place for everyone.”

But the progressive agenda didn’t stop there: Today, Whitmer ​signed into law the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which undues many of the archaic restricts and regulations on abortion that have been implemented in Michigan over the years. For example, according to Democrats in the Michigan Senate, the bill would remove “medically unnecessary regulations, such as current stringent building requirements that have nothing to do with actual patient care. The bills also remove reporting requirements and administrative burdens that are not placed on any other healthcare providers.”  

More urgently, the RHA will no longer criminalize the prescription of abortion medication and remove insurance requirements that prevent low-income women from accessing reproductive health care. 

Here’s Whitmer following the signing of the bill:



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Jamie Larson