Skip to main content

In the first day of a trial on the secretly drawn redistricting ram-through in Wisconsin, a 3 judge panel  has given Wisconsin Legislative leaders until 5:30 PM Central Time to reconsider redrawing the districts by taking into account the court challenges by Democrats and Latinos.

At the opening of Tuesday's trial, presiding Judge J.P. Stadtmueller said drawing district lines is the purview of the Legislature, and it would be best for them to put those lines into law. However, he said, the plaintiffs have raised significant issues - particularly on the treatment of Latino areas and in the way it moved hundreds of thousands of people into new districts.
The 3 judge panel has recently ordered the release of all documents related to the drawing of those maps, leading to the revelations that they were drawn in secret by the GOP in the law offices of Michael Best & Friedrich and involved GOP lawmakers signing oaths of secrecy.  The GOP was forced to pay over $17,000 to plaintiffs lawyers in the redistricting case for their frivolous motions attempting to keep the remaining 84 documents secret.

As you well know, the GOP has majorities in the State Senate and State Assembly as well as the Governors office.  This trifecta of power has given them the power to ram through as series of extremist measures that have quickly been enacted into law.  Input from Democrats and citizens have been soundly rejected and many of these new laws are facing court challenges, mainly due to the Republicans insistence on fast tracking bills for rapid passage by ignoring existing laws about governance such as our Open Meeting Law.

Reedistricting is always messy, no matter where it happens.  But a single political party creating new legislative districts without any input, creating them in private offices away from the halls of government, and using massive secrecy and non-disclosure oaths isn't democracy.  It's blatant partisanship and tyranny, a word I don't use often.

They have created a massive divide in my state, refused to listen to the citizens, and understand that they are in electoral peril.  With that knowledge, the GOP attempted  to ensure that they would continue unrivalled dominence in our Legislature for the next 10 years.  And with that dominence, they would redistrict again every 10 years with the same guarentee of political dominence.

The 3 Judge Panel is giving them another change to redistrict with input.  Otherwise, testimony will start tomorrow in this case.

I'll update this as additional information becomes available.

PS:  This is primary election day in Wisconsin (local elections, sorry, no national candidates yet) and the first electionthat our (GOP rammed through) new voter suppression law is in effect.   We have to present our IDs and sign the new shiny voter book in order to get a ballot.  People who have voted in elections for decades who don't have their state-approved ID will be turned away.

Update:  Another brief article here.

Update:  Adjusted title to indicate that the deadline was given by the Court.

Update #3: The original Journal Sentinel article has been updated and more fleshed out from its original few paragraphs.

The order, coming just after the trial began Tuesday, sent the 16 attorneys in the courtroom scrambling to consult with their clients and make overtures to lawmakers and GOP Gov. Scott Walker.
The idea of redrawing the maps comes in the waning days of the legislative session, as Republican leaders try to pass a major overhaul of mining laws before heading into likely recall elections this summer of Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four GOP senators. It was unclear if Republican leaders were open to the idea of changing the maps, and the topic was expected to dominate Tuesday's caucus meetings behind closed doors.
Stadtmueller (one of the judges on the panel) said the court needs to examine the large number of voters who were moved into new congressional districts even though more modest changes could have been made to achieve districts of equal population. In some cases, Republican lawmakers needed to add a relatively small number of voters to a district. Instead of doing that, they moved large numbers out of the district and a new batch of voters into it. That resulted in significant reshaping of the congressional districts in northern and western Wisconsin.

Information in italics is mine added for clarification.

Among those suing the state over the maps is Judy Robson, a Democrat and former Senate majority leader. She said she did not expect Republican lawmakers to take up the maps in the coming weeks.

"They would have to admit they were wrong," she said. "And given their arrogance, they will never admit they're wrong."

Justin Levitt, a law professor who tracks redistricting closely, said the ruling was highly unusual but was also a reminder that courts defer to lawmakers for the most part on where lines are drawn.

The updated article is well worth a read.

Update 4:  A fresh article discusses the Redistricting Lawsuit.

Republican state lawmakers head into a trial this week over new election maps with one major asset and a big liability.

On their side: The maps at issue were approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker, giving them a presumption of legality. Against them: In recent weeks they have repeatedly angered the three judges hearing the case.

The case hinges on two major claims:

That Latinos are deprived of their full voting strength because of where the lines fall on Milwaukee's south side.
That thousands of people unnecessarily have to wait six years - instead of four - between elections for the state Senate because of the way voters were moved from one district to another.

In unanimous rulings, the judges on the panel have expressed exasperation at the Republican lawmakers for trying to keep their redistricting process secret and repeatedly attempting to withhold documents. In January, they ordered the Republicans' attorneys to pay about $17,500 for filing frivolous motions to keep material confidential. Then, last week, they again scolded the GOP lawmakers for trying to keep additional records secret in an order that said they had engaged in an "all but shameful" manner in trying to keep information from the public.
Update 5:  The deadline has now passed.  No new information yet, but I'll watching.

HERE'S THE FINAL DECISION:   The GOP has weaselled outclaiming they have no power to reconsider the map.  

Republican lawmakers said they believe they have no power to make changes to election maps they approved last summer, inserting new questions into a fast-changing litigation over those maps.
They cite state law saying they can only redistrict once every 10 years.  Bwahahahaha!  They finally recognize a state law only when it provides backing for something they don't want to do.  An updated reportsays they're citing a 1954 opinion by the State Supreme Court. attorney for the state told the panel top Republicans were willing to consider making changes but believed a 1954 opinion by the state Supreme Court prevented them from doing so.
Tuesday's developments left numerous questions in place - including when the trial may continue. The presiding judge told the attorneys to be able to return to court with 45 minutes notice on Wednesday, but made clear the panel may rule only on ancillary issues rather than taking up the heart of the case.

It's anyones guess what happens from here.

Frankly, the judges may be forced to redraw the map and weather the expected whining and screetching outrage from Republicans about "judicial overreach" and "librul judges".  The plain facts are that the GOP, after a year of unchallenged (except in the courts) legislation and unimaginable power over the state, are accustomed to getting whatever they want whenever they want it.  The don't want to lower themselves to discuss or compromise.  That attitude shows in their decision.

Update 6:  From the ever expanding Journal Sentinal coverage a lot of it calling BS on the GOPs lame excuse for not going to the table with plaintiffs to redo the districts:

The court could also address the issue Wednesday of whether the Legislature has the ability to redraw the district lines absent a court order. Kelly, one of the attorneys for the state, argued lawmakers can pass approve maps just once a decade, unless a court tells them to draw new lines.

But Doug Poland, an attorney for the group of Democrats, said lawmakers could draw new maps multiple times during their first two-year session after each census, even if a court had not ordered it to do so.

He noted those who drew the maps wrote in emails last year believed they could change the maps after approving them, at one point writing talking points that said they could revise them after last year's state Senate recall elections if they wanted.

Originally posted to Puddytat on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Friends of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

kos, Chris Bowers, Bob Johnson, DeminNewJ, fcvaguy, dragonlady, MadRuth, glitterscale, kaleidescope, madmsf, Eman, Minnesota Deb, SanJoseLady, corwin, Stein, celdd, eeff, xynz, WI Deadhead, exNYinTX, niemann, whenwego, highacidity, KMc, Bionic, mkfarkus, itskevin, jalbert, oceanview, Nate Roberts, Cedwyn, antirove, dksbook, revsue, danthrax, mwk, Ophelia, Steven Payne, defluxion10, Calidrissp, i m bushwacked, alizard, One bite at a time, Diana in NoVa, AllisonInSeattle, zett, Curt Matlock, WisVoter, Vicky, jcrit, Josiah Bartlett, Skennet Boch, davidincleveland, G2geek, maybeeso in michigan, bloomer 101, radarlady, 3goldens, NoMoreLies, Ckntfld, UncleCharlie, liberalcheesehead, OpherGopher, PBen, KnotIookin, Alice Venturi, BCO gal, MT Spaces, cfk, majcmb1, jimreyn, Overseas, Ice Blue, markdd, Ginny in CO, sodalis, churchlady, bunsk, Rogneid, jct, kathny, begone, RJDixon74135, Philpm, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, sherlyle, Mr Bojangles, mr crabby, ruleoflaw, sleipner, claudette, Gottlieb, blueoasis, NBBooks, wild hair, StrayCat, gooderservice, SadieSue, JVolvo, ER Doc, llbear, onionjim, Statusquomustgo, AllanTBG, sea note, Quicklund, ammasdarling, amyo28, ChadmanFL, asilomar, Habitat Vic, jhecht, ColoTim, Wino, DvCM, Cofcos, deepeco, sfbob, aliasalias, davehouck, bnasley, jedennis, stcroix cheesehead, GeorgeXVIII, Korkenzieher, janatallow, the1sage, vet, TomP, Empower Ink, jwinIL14, MKinTN, AnnieJo, BobBlueMass, ScottyUrb, Sixty Something, Involuntary Exile, elwior, Laughing Vergil, CDH in Brooklyn, thetadelta, jakebob, Lujane, hwmnbn, Jeff Y, catly, Horsefeathers, glendaw271, petulans, makettle, Uncle Bob, shortgirl, maggiejean, Bule Betawi, litoralis, bobatkinson, zephyr108, Nebraskablue, susanWAstate, notrouble, StuHunter, DefendOurConstitution, petral, followyourbliss, MKSinSA, Keith Pickering, CityLightsLover, Tortmaster, nancat357, jpmassar, Larsstephens, Words In Action, Railfan, Amber6541, Just Bob, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, henlesloop, confitesprit, awcomeon, Laurilei, pdx kirk, Crabby Abbey, Giles Goat Boy, ko62, Polly Syllabic, alguien, plankbob, rja, roystah, ericlewis0, DaveinBremerton, leu2500, not4morewars, Mac in Maine, kerflooey, Bluefin, coquiero, La Gitane, FarWestGirl, Sand Hill Crane, CoExistNow, trumpeter, zukesgirl64, badscience, IllanoyGal, thomask, sonorelli, BarackStarObama, muddy boots, beka, Yogurt721, Sark Svemes, peregrine kate, VTCC73, Caddis Fly, Vatexia, blue aardvark, jolux, stlsophos, Mentatmark, CoyoteMarti, bassinduo, I C Mainer, drawingporno, No one gets out alive, jacey, RhodaA, anodnhajo, vacilando, leathersmith, Siri, a2nite, Trotskyrepublican, Evolutionary, congenitalefty, TexDemAtty, MilitantRabbit, QwertyToo, Arahahex, Olkate, ricklewsive, noise of rain, AverageJoe42, dotdash2u, wasatch, peptabysmal, inspired2013, CalBearMom, GeoffT, isewquilts2, Chaddiwicker, ForestLake, nomandates, NotoriousYJX, glorificus, GenXBadger, Setsuna Mudo, broths, weck, Jollie Ollie Orange, rosarugosa, Smoh

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site