Daily Bread for 1.21.22: Which Least Changes?

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 19.  Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset 4:54 PM for 9h 36m 16s of daytime.  The moon is waning gibbous with 88.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1954, the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched in Groton, Connecticut by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower.

 Shawn Johnson reports Wisconsin Supreme Court justices offer hints at ‘least changes’ approach in redistricting hearing:

The state Supreme Court’s conservative majority made clear in a November ruling it wanted all the plans submitted in this case to closely follow the 2011 map, endorsing a “least changes” approach advocated by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

There’s nothing in state law or the Wisconsin Constitution that spells out precisely how to measure “least changes,” but by one metric, Evers’ plan would be best: It would move the fewest people from one state Assembly district to another.

“No matter how you slice it, the governor’s maps make the least changes,” argued Evers’ attorney Anthony Russomanno, an assistant attorney general with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

But the attorney for Republican lawmakers focused on other metrics, noting the maps submitted by the Legislature had a lower “population deviation” than the governor’s, meaning the number of constituents from district to district was closer to equal.

“Only the Legislature’s plan can be described to meet that constitutional standard,” said Taylor Meehan, an attorney representing the Legislature.


[Justice Brian] Hagedorn sided with the rest of the court’s conservatives in its November redistricting ruling, but on Wednesday, he questioned Meehan at length over the Legislature’s focus on population deviation, suggesting it was inconsistent with what the court had asked for.

“I’m having a hard time understanding why we would now use that standard when that isn’t what we told the parties,” Hagedorn said. “If we told the parties we wanted you to submit maps that have perfect equality population … we should have said so. But we didn’t say so. We said something quite, quite different. And I don’t want to be Charlie Brown and Lucy here.”

Other conservative justices sent distinctly different signals than Hagedorn, hinting they might favor the Legislature’s argument.

“We did emphasize the paramount importance of population equality,” said conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley.

No predictions to offer, but worth noting that the court’s embrace of the least-change position has been a 2021 conservative victory that departs from 2011 conservatives’ major-change redistricting.

 Mink v. Rat:

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