‘Supreme Court decided not to decide’ in redistricting case, says UW political science professor

Wisconsin state leaders are reacting to a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court Monday on a Wisconsin case related to partisan gerrymandering.

The nation’s highest court sent Whitford v. Gill back to the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

The lead plaintiff in the case, William Whitford, is a retired University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor who argued that the legislative district map drawn in 2011 gave Republicans an edge.

{“url”:”https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog/status/1008715274193965057″,”author_name”:”SCOTUSblog”,”author_url”:”https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog”,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”&#gt;Supreme Court dismisses Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case for lack of standing&#lt;/p&#gt;– SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) &#lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog/status/1008715274193965057?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”&#gt;June 18, 2018&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;n&#lt;script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:”https://twitter.com”,”version”:”1.0″}

David Canon, a UW professor of political science, said the high court punted the case back to a lower court without deciding any of the underlying cases.

“The Supreme Court decided not to decide,” Canon said. “They basically again just punted on any underlying questions of the constitutionality of this and didn’t say anything about whether gerrymandering is OK or not.”

Canon said gerrymandering is something lawmakers on both sides do in order to get ahead.

“This is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing; it’s a majority party vs. minority party thing where whichever party is in power tries to redraw the lines for their partisan advantage,” he said.

{“url”:”https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog/status/1008769560357502976″,”author_name”:”SCOTUSblog”,”author_url”:”https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog”,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”&#gt;&#lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SCOTUS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”&#gt;#SCOTUS&#lt;/a&#gt; sends partisan-gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin and Maryland back to the lower courts, but issue could be back soon; &#lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/AHoweBlogger?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”&#gt;@ahoweblogger&#lt;/a&#gt; with our opinion analysis for Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland) &#lt;a href=”https://t.co/YKDVNwVXRi”&#gt;https://t.co/YKDVNwVXRi&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;– SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) &#lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog/status/1008769560357502976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”&#gt;June 18, 2018&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;n&#lt;script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:”https://twitter.com”,”version”:”1.0″}

Reaction from lawmakers

Republicans are calling the ruling a win for their party, but Democrats said they don’t see it as a loss for them.

“I just see it as they needed more information to make an informed decision,” said Rep. Dianne Hesselbein.

She’s been trying to get a redistricting bill passed in Wisconsin since 2012.

“I certainly think that anyone looking at these districts in the state of Wisconsin (can tell) they’re clearly gerrymandered, and it’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate for the voters in the state of Wisconsin that the Republicans chose to do this,” Hesselbein said.

Gov. Scott Walker disagrees, saying the decision allows him and lawmakers to continue focusing on issues that move the state forward.

“I think the lines are fair when we signed them and the bottom line in this is that the United States Supreme Court, on a unanimous decision, decided the state of Wisconsin was right in its case,” Walker said.

The leadership at the state Capitol also reacted to Monday’s decision. A joint statement from the top Republicans, Rep. Robin Vos and Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, said they were “pleased” with the decision.

“Democrats have been using the maps as an excuse for their failure to connect with Wisconsin voters. We believe the redistricting process we undertook seven years ago fulfilled our constitutional duty, and followed all applicable laws and standards that are required in redistricting,” they said in the statement.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling called SCOTUS’ ruling a “temporary setback for advocates for fair elections.”

“Democrats believe every voter deserves to have their voice heard,” Shilling said. “Republican efforts to suppress voters, restrict voting rights and rig elections through gerrymandered maps have demonstrated just how desperate they’ve become to cling to power.”

{“url”:”https://twitter.com/SenShilling/status/1008740464986611712″,”author_name”:”Jennifer Shilling”,”author_url”:”https://twitter.com/SenShilling”,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”&#gt;As a Democrat, I believe every voter deserves to have their voice heard. We need &#lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/FairMaps?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”&#gt;#FairMaps&#lt;/a&#gt; & &#lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/FairElections?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”&#gt;#FairElections&#lt;/a&#gt; now! &#lt;a href=”https://t.co/L3WWKBFbTs”&#gt;pic.twitter.com/L3WWKBFbTs&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;– Jennifer Shilling (@SenShilling) &#lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/SenShilling/status/1008740464986611712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”&#gt;June 18, 2018&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;n&#lt;script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:”https://twitter.com”,”version”:”1.0″}

Assembly Democratic leader Gordon Hintz said the ruling “is not a victory for Republicans.”

“This case has brought national attention to Wisconsin. Wisconsinites know that voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,” Hintz said.