By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — In a huge win for Republicans, the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed it would take a “least change” approach in settling new state and congressional boundaries for the next decade.
The 4-3 ruling means the state’s high court will make only minimal changes to the current maps drawn up in 2011 by a Republican Legislature and governor. In short, the disputed maps will reflect the changes in the state’s population over the past 10 years, but they won’t be driven by political ideas of representational fairness.
“The United States Supreme Court recently declared there are no legal standards by which judges may decide whether maps are politically ‘fair.’… We agree,” wrote Justice Rebecca G. Bradley in the majority opinion held by the court’s four conservatives.
Wisconsin’s constitution requires the legislature — a political body — to establish legislative districts, Bradley wrote. Just as the laws enacted by the legislature reflect policy choices, so will the maps drawn by that political body.
“Claims of political unfairness in the maps present political questions, not legal ones,” Bradley wrote. “Such claims have no basis in the constitution or any other law and therefore must be resolved through the political process and not by the judiciary.” MORE