U.S. Supreme Court and Wisconsin: Parties Split Results

The Story:

In two decisions last week on the so-called “shadow docket,” the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court summarily decided two appeals pending from the ongoing redistricting process in Wisconsin. One of these decisions was in effect a win for the Democratic Party in that state, the other a win for the Republican Party.


One of the cases involved the new map for Wisconsin’s congressional districts, the other involved redistricting for its state legislature. In both cases, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court adopted a plan of the Democratic Governor, and in both places the Republicans appealed, hoping to get a better deal if the state legislature can give the maps another look.

As to the Congressional district, the state legislature won’t get another look. SCOTUS rejected the request that it take up the case, which means the Governor’ map prevails. (Wisconsin had eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives before the 2020 census and remains entitled to the eight seats.)

As to the state legislature, though, SCOTUS rejected the Governor’s maps, ordering the legislature to redraw those maps for its seats. This late in the cycle for the 2022 elections, the former ruling was expected, but the latter was extraordinary.

The Thing to Know:

Probably the most important change in the Congressional map is that Bryan Steil (R) might have a more difficult time seeking re-election than he had hoped. The 1st district, largely the suburbs south of Milwaukee, went from a heavily Republican district to one likely to be competitive in partisan terms.

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