Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Still Waiting for Federal Judges’ Ruling in WI Redistricting Lawsuit

with 4 comments

Believe it or not, folks, the three-judge federal panel has still not come out with a ruling on the Wisconsin redistricting case.  The longer they stay out, the more complex things are likely to get; right now, candidates must register to run in the proposed new districts by early April, but if the judges’ ruling says that the redistricting done by the Wisconsin GOP legislators is unconstitutional, all bets are off regarding candidates, their districts, and filing for elections in the fall.

So every day the federal judges delay their ruling is another day that the legislators have to wonder, “Which seat am I supposed to run for again?”

This isn’t a trivial issue, folks; using my own Assembly district as a model, right now I am in district 61.  My Assemblyman is Robert Turner, a highly respected legislator — and a Democrat.  But the re-districting “drew” me into a new map; I’m now in district 66.  Robert Turner says that is now going to be his district (providing the maps hold up), per his office’s correspondence; you can see where this could be a major problem, considering how many districts got changed (including the district numbering), right?

I haven’t a clue what most of the legislators plan to do if the new proposed district maps get struck down by the federal judges; I do know that if the judges uphold the maps, there will be likely be further lawsuits, which will further cloud the issue. 

Of course, if the judges strike down the new districts, the Wisconsin GOP is very likely to immediately appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which is bound by law to take the case in an expedited fashion.  So either way, it seems to me the federal judges lose — but the Wisconsin voters, like me, lose even more.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Apparently a decision was handed down today, March 22. All GOP-drawn Congressional districts were upheld, but some minor tweaking of Assembly Districts 8 and 9 will be required. Assembly Districts 8 and 9 are predominately Latino districts in Milwaukee. However, if those districts are redrawn, Hispanics for Leadership director Zeus Rodriguez has promised to file yet another lawsuit. The Milwaukee-based Latino group has maintained that the existing GOP-drawn maps favor the voting interests of Latinos in Milwaukee. The court is apparently insisting that minority voters be “packed” into a single district instead of comprising majority constituencies in two districts as drawn by the GOP.

    So far as the claims of disenfranchisement, gerrymandering and “secrecy of process” the federal 3-judge panel said:

    “As for the other claims, we find that although the draft­ing of Act 43 was need­lessly secret, regret­tably exclud­ing input from the over­whelm­ing major­ity of Wis­con­sin cit­i­zens, and although the final prod­uct need­lessly moved more than a mil­lion Wis­con­sinites and dis­rupted their long-standing polit­i­cal rela­tion­ships, the result­ing pop­u­la­tion devi­a­tions are not large enough to per­mit judi­cial inter­ven­tion under the Supreme Court’s prece­dents. Act 44 has zero pop­u­la­tion devi­a­tion, which is why we find that the intervenor-plaintiffs have no mer­i­to­ri­ous “one per­son, one vote” claim. The intervenor-plaintiffs’ par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing claim never made it out of the gate because no work­able stan­dard was offered to the court.”

    Donald Oberweiser

    March 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    • I appreciate seeing the judge’s actual wording because that was (probably still is) going to be my next blog posting. (I wrote this last night, saying I didn’t understand what the hold-up was. Now, after seeing this, I really don’t understand why they waited this long to rule.) The WI Rs see this as a huge win for them; there are still really badly drawn districts like Senate districts 21 and 22, where historically they could be won by any candidate — and would be held accountable thereby — but now will be heavily R (21, the rural parts of Racine and Kenosha counties) and heavily D (the urban parts of the same counties– Cities of Kenosha and Racine).

      And yes, I know it’ll take an amendment to the state Constitution to do it, but I’m _for_ the impartial commission. Neither party should be allowed to hold the whole state hostage any longer, nor should either party be allowed to score political points while keeping the people who matter — the voters — completely outside of the process. I find this whole process, the way it went down, to be a huge *loss* for the people of WI.

      I continue to want an impartial commission to re-draw district boundaries; this was done horribly, and while the judges have said that, they also more or less said they can’t do anything about it except for Assembly districts 8 and 9. To me, that’s not acceptable and I continue to want nearly all of the Senate Rs, minimum, to be thrown out on their butts. (Most of the Assembly Rs, too, but definitely all the Senate Rs.)

      Barb Caffrey

      March 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

  2. All GOP-dwawn Senate Districts were also upheld. Regarding Assembly Districts 8 and 9 the court ruled that Act 43 fails to cre­ate a [sin­gle] majority-minority dis­trict for Milwaukee’s Latino com­mu­nity.” How­ever, the Court stated that its “hold­ing is not intended to affect any other dis­trict drawn by Act 43” and that any “redraw­ing of the lines for Dis­tricts 8 and 9 must occur within the com­bined outer bound­aries of those two districts.”

    Donald Oberweiser

    March 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    • Yes. I heard it; I wrote this last night (always check the dates and times). I don’t know what happens from here except that the three-judge panel has ruled; it’s possible that the other groups who were upset may _not_ file additional lawsuits. I do know the Wisconsin Rs feel this is a big win for them, which disgusts me — this wasn’t a win for _anyone_.

      Barb Caffrey

      March 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: