Wisconsin – A three-judge federal district court in Wisconsin has invalidated the Republican-drawn state assembly district map enacted in August 2011 as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. If the ruling stands – and that’s a very big “IF,” this case will be the first successful approach to creating a workable standard for courts to use in determining whether a partisan gerrymander rises to the level of impermissible gerrymandering under the first amendment and equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Read more in the New York Times , Salon.com, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Rick Hasen’s Electionlawblog. Read the District Court Opinion.
– The maps were complaint with traditional redistricting principles, but the majority opinion details defendants’ copious use of “composite partisan scoring” for all of the maps it considered.
– After enactment of the assembly map, In 2012, the Republican Party received 48.6% of the two-party statewide vote share for Assembly candidates and won 60 of the 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly. In 2014, the Republican Party received 52% of the two-party statewide vote share and won 63 assembly seats.
– The court invalidated the legislature’s 2012 map but delayed its decision on whether to establish a remedial map of its own.
– The court also deferred a decision on whether to grant plaintiff’s motion to enjoin the state from seating newly elected legislators from the disputed map.
– The majority opinion was based in part on its acceptance of a new measurement standard proposed by plaintiffs referred to as Efficiency Gap Analysis.
– This case is very likely to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on direct appeal. The outcome could hinge on a new appointee of the incoming Trump administration.