Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wisconsin Flips 180 Degrees On Responsibility For Redistricting

It's not everyday you'll see an entire state government do a full-flip, but in the Federal redistricting case where two south-side Milwaukee Assembly district maps were found to have been drawn illegally by Republican legislators, the state's Republican Attorney General - - blessed tactically by Republican State Senator and Co-Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - - has done exactly that.

When the case went to trial last month, lawyers for the state argued that the redistricting plan was the state's domain, according to the AP on February 24th:

Daniel Kelly, an attorney who defended the maps, said they were prepared as they should have been - by lawmakers. He said the Legislature's decision should be respected, not interfered with by the courts
"Drafting them is the province of the Legislature. It's a political act," he said. "This is their judgment, and it is inappropriate for a small group of people to attempt to reverse a legitimate politic, you know what happened."
And the court seemed to agree:
The three judges originally seemed almost reluctant to hear the case, saying the issue of redrawing election maps is better handled by lawmakers than the court. Twice they encouraged lawmakers to voluntarily review the maps. Both times Democratic leaders were willing, but Republican leaders refused. 
Well, you know what happened. The Federal court agreed to hear the case and issued a decision a few weeks later that slammed the secrecy with which the redistricting was handled and ordered that the two districts be mapped to comply with the US Voting Rights Act.

To which the state responded Friday by saying to the three-judge panel - - hey, you folks can go ahead and do our job for us because our Legislature won't.

Van Hollen Has A Plan To Resolve The Redistricting Mess - - Without Legislative Action

Wisconsin Attorney General Van Hollen - - as signaled Thursday by Senate Co-Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - - communicated a plan Friday afternoon on behalf of the redistricting defendants (the state) in response to a petition filed earlier in the day by the winning defendants.

Van Hollen's plan proposes that the three-judge Federal panel that ordered new maps for two Milwaukee, heavily-Latino south-side districts illegally configured through the Legislature's secretive drafting last year a) expedite a process to "determine who may submit proposals for a new boundary line..."
So what was that huffy talk about redistricting being the state legislature's job all about?


Anonymous said...

I'm confused. I'm confused about how this "response" is supposed to inspire confidence in lawmakers. I'm confused about how the Three Judges are supposed to think this is cool. Plus...I'm just confused, these guys are really weird. It makes my head spin.
So I'm gonna devote my energies to outfitting my van for more Clintonville conspiracy detecting. Only noobs think they got a full explanation. Be serious. Earthquakes don't sound like that.
I might be gone for while.
It's out there man, it's out there....

Anonymous said...

Marvelous post. Thanks for the laughs, as it keeps me from crying about how low our legislature, our AG, and you-know-who who could call the legislature back into session -- and add our "leading media" who could call for action, too, and ought to have written this -- have sunk.

But where is Sen. Mark Miller on this? Scottie Fitz is not senate majority leader anymore; Miller and the Dems have equal power now.

James Rowen said...

My understanding is that the Dems wanted to look at more than just the two districts, given that those districts are contiguous with others, and that Fitz can block it by refusing to cooperate.

boomboomyahright said...

OHHHH, Seriously, I want to go to Clintonville with you. I seriously want to investigate it. Where will you be? I'm serious.

It's 3:44 pm now.

Anonymous said...

They are evil republicans and will do ANYTHING to win.

tomkraj said...

The Dems should meet in the chamber for several days (perhaps weeks) and give speeches urging the Republicans to come and do their job. Maybe threaten to call out the State Patrol....

A. Wag said...

They could even let cameras in!