Eau Claire (WQOW) - Wisconsin Democrats are expressing disappointment after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in an important case that impacts every voter in the state.
The case involves Wisconsin's legislative district maps, with the plaintiffs claiming they were drawn to unfairly favor Republicans.
Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that a group of 12 Democratic voters had to do more to show our legislative maps give Republicans a huge advantage.
In essence, the Supreme Court side-stepped the decision on partisan gerrymandering. It also sent back a similar case from Maryland brought on by Republicans.
It was a blow to Wisconsin Democrats who were hoping for a resolution - but it does not mean the case is over.
"Their argument was saying the plaintiffs didn't provide enough evidence to support moving forward on a decision," said UW-Eau Claire professor Dr. Ryan Weichelt. "Which to me, was somewhat surprising. The simple fact that they listened to this case in October, and to do this maybe a week or two before rendering their decision and kick it back to the lower court, seems somewhat surprising."
The justices have now said the plaintiffs, including Wendy Sue Johnson from Eau Claire, must bring challenges on a district-by-district basis, rather than challenging the districts statewide. Johnson told News 18 as the case moves forward, she anticipates more plaintiffs being added.
"This has always been sort of a long game," Johnson said. "We're talking about maps that were drawn in 2011, so it's not a quick fix or an easy fix. Courts take time. So, the next step is the lower court will create some sort of a schedule, for the attorneys to provide additional input. Likely we will have additional trial testimony with additional plaintiffs."
The current maps will be used for the upcoming fall elections, but Johnson is hopeful the case can move forward and the maps will be changed in time for 2020.
There is also a chance the Supreme Court could take up another gerrymandering case out of North Carolina before that.
Monday, Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan said the court is leaving the door open, writing she hopes the court will step up to its responsibility and vindicate the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has ruled in racial gerrymandering cases in the past, but has yet to issue a decision on a case involving pure politics.
The next time the election maps are required to be changed is in 202, when the newest census data is available.