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.
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.So what was that huffy talk about redistricting being the state legislature's job all about?
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..."