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Making the Connection Between Fair Maps and Environmental Justice

In a December 2023 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin’s legislative maps violated the state constitution and ordered that they be redrawn. Among those who applauded the court’s decision were members of the Coalition on Lead Emergency, on whose behalf Midwest Environmental Advocates submitted an amicus brief in the case.

Case Summary

In November 2023, the Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted an amicus, or ‘friend of the court’ brief from MEA in Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, a redistricting case pending before the Court. At issue in the case was whether Wisconsin’s legislative maps violated the Wisconsin Constitution.

The amicus brief was submitted by MEA on behalf of the Coalition on Lead Emergency (COLE), a grassroots organization whose mission is to prevent and respond to childhood lead poisoning in Milwaukee. COLE’s advocacy is guided by parents of lead-poisoned children. 

In our amicus brief, we argued that COLE parents had been unfairly disadvantaged by legislative maps that disempowered the areas most affected by lead poisoning. Any new legislative district maps must be responsive to all Wisconsinites—regardless of where they live—to prevent future legislatures from neglecting environmental issues that disproportionately affect certain areas of the state. 

In December 2023, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin’s legislative maps were indeed unconstitutional and ordered that the maps be redrawn.

Richard Diaz

Coalition on Lead Emergency

News Related to this Case

Press Release

MEA Submits Amicus Brief in Legislative Maps Case on Behalf of Milwaukee Group Working to End Childhood Lead Poisoning

Yesterday, the State Supreme Court accepted an amicus brief submitted by MEA on behalf of Coalition On Lead Emergency in a redistricting case that is pending before the Court. Read our press release to learn how Wisconsin’s current legislative maps politically disempower Milwaukee parents whose kids have been poisoned by lead and how we’re working together to advocate for change.

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