The case that began today in Federal Court in Milwaukee about the constitutionality of a GOP-managed bill that created new legislative district maps for the next decade pits allegations by Democrats and minority communities of politically-inspired and improper bill drafting against assertions by Republicans that the bill and maps were created fairly.
It has become known that redistricting work took place, though publicly-funded, in private attorneys' offices near the State Capitol into which GOP legislative leaders' staffers were moved, and Republican legislators who were invited to those offices to review maps and boundaries proposed for their districts had to sign agreements requiring them to keep quiet about what they'd seen seen.
Secrecy was paramount, as was strengthening incumbents' status.
The problem the GOP will have making the case that the mapping was not politicized is underscored in a June 21, 2011 email from Jim Troupis, one the GOP attorneys, written to staffers for the Assembly and Senate leadership about the redistricting work.
In the email, Troupis explained that he had been briefly unavailable in Madison because he'd been in Washington, DC: the email is one of dozens forced into public view by the Federal judges hearing the case who decided some email records had been improperly withheld by the GOP's attorneys during what is called "discovery" prior to the case finally being heard.
The forced disclosures show how far from Madison redistricting details were being delivered to certain partisans while being withheld from the public:
"I did meet with the General Counsel to the RNC and reported to him on this and other issues."RNC is the Republican National Committee.
The bill and maps were made public weeks later.
Other documents forced out by the judges showed that former Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Jensen - - now a school choice advocate with a national conservative policy and funding organization - - was contacted about the process.
And additional emails showed that the drafters knew their proposed maps would disenfranchise tens of thousands of state residents when they were to be moved into districts without a regularly-scheduled State Senate election.