In an unsigned per curiam order, the Court today reversed a decision of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin that, in a dispute about the assignment of the number of so-called minority-majority districts, chose an electoral map drawn by the governor over several other such proposals. Wisconsin Legislature v. Wisconsin Election Commission.
The course selected by the governor resulted in the formulation of seven such districts, each of which had a bare majority of Black voters. The Supreme Court elevated a request for a stay into a petition for certiorari, and held that the Wisconsin court did not consider carefully enough whether the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, which protects minority voting power, required in this case the addition of a seventh assembly district in which Black voters made up a majority. Thus, the Court remanded the case for further fact-finding.
In this alleged gerrymandering case, the Republican-dominated legislature has prevailed in its claim that the Democrats rigged the system by creating a map that unnecessarily maximized the number of Black minority-majority districts.
The decision, though unsigned, was 7-2, with outgoing Justice Breyer in the majority. Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Kagan, dissented in what is just the latest chapter in what seems to be a never-ending series of cases involving inter-party challenges to electoral district map making, challenges representative of the country’s deep political divisions.
The ghost of Elbridge Gerry remains afoot.
- Member of the Firm