In 2011, Republicans took control of the Wisconsin Legislature. Having complete control, they changed the redistricting process to their favor. Behind closed doors with oaths of secrecy, the Republicans considered nine maps, each incarnation predicting more gains for Republicans, and settled on one in use today.

With the new map, the Republican Party was able to retain control of the Legislature through partisan gerrymandering.

Due to the unfair gerrymandering clearly present in Wisconsin, a case was brought in federal court, Whitford v. Gill. The U.S. District Court decided that the map was unconstitutional and would have to be redrawn.

The district court’s decision was appealed by Wisconsin Republicans to the U. S. Supreme Court, which accepted the case. It is certain that no matter how the case is decided, it will go down as a historic U.S. Supreme Court case deciding whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.

If the high court decides that the partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, it would require not only Wisconsin to redistrict but for all states to redistrict in a nonpartisan way. If Republicans prevail in the case, it would cause a major shift in redistricting across the United States, with partisan gerrymandering becoming a norm for both Republican- and Democratic-controlled states.

The case is expected to be decided by June, as are most of the Supreme Court’s cases, such as Benisek v. Lamone, in which Democrats are accused of gerrymandering. Based on my research, the U.S. Supreme Court must decide both Benisek v. Lamone and Gill v. Whitford cases together to declare that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.

DYLAN HERMANSON 

Janesville Parker

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