“Challenge to Wisconsin election maps undergoes sharp questioning before state Supreme Court”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

A ruling on a bid to overturn Wisconsin’s legislative maps heavily tilted in favor of Republicans now rests with the state Supreme Court and its newly constituted liberal majority after it heard three hours of arguments Tuesday.

Law Forward, a Madison-based liberal-leaning law firm focused on voting issues, brought the legal challenge straight to the Supreme Court in August — bypassing lower courts in an expedited effort that could lead to an outcome before the 2024 elections.

Attorneys for the voters who filed the challenge are asking justices to declare the state’s legislative districts unconstitutional and order new maps drawn based on “traditional redistricting criteria” in addition to what’s required under state law by mid-March 2024.

“That remedy cannot be a partisan gerrymander in intent or in effect,” attorneys for the voters argued.

Such a ruling would put every member of the Legislature up for reelection next year.

The court’s three conservative justices opposed the four liberal justices’ decision to take up the challenge to the state’s legislative maps, and were quick to press attorneys during Tuesday’s oral arguments on why the court should revisit the issue just two years after a previous case.

“Everybody knows that the reason we’re here is because there was a change in the membership of the court,” said conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley, who interrupted Campaign Legal Center attorney Mark Gaber within seconds of his remarks to the court.

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