Friday, July 11, 2014

Redistricting Slap By FL Judge Echoes Similar WI Takedowns

What was a "shameful...charade" in Wisconsin is now "a mockery" revealed in Florida.

What we're talking about, of course, is what happens when judges find and then rule against sneaky redistricting tactics by Republicans who are genuinely threatened by fair voting and transparent governance.

Read on...

Today we learn that a judge in Florida had some pretty harsh things to say about how Republicans went about gerrymandering the state, including: 
"They made a mockery of the Legislature's proclaimed transparent and open process of redistricting by doing all of this in the shadow of that process," [Judge Terry] Lewis wrote, noting they went "to great lengths to conceal from the public their plan and their participation in it.
"They might have successfully concealed their scheme and their actions from the public, had it not been for the plaintiffs' determined efforts to uncover it in this case," he added.
Lewis said Republicans had illegally drawn two districts' lines, and ordered them redrawn.

Which is exactly what happened when US District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller - - a conservative, Ronald Reagan appointee - - strongly criticized from the bench in Milwaukee the obstructionist behavior of Wisconsin Republican redistricting attorneys - - before urging the GOP-led Legislature to redraw two districts with legal lines:

...we have had enough of the charade and mischaracterization. I don't mean to impugn either you or anyone associated with this case, but as they say, the facts are the facts. What has occurred here is beyond the pale in terms of lack of transparency, secrecy, and at the end of the day, as the court has commented earlier, it may not have anything to do with the price of tea in China, but appearances are everything, and Wisconsin has prided itself for one generation after another on openness and fairness and doing the right thing.
Moreover, like the Florida judge and his Wisconsin counterpart Stadtmueller, a three-judge Federal appeals court panel in Chicago had also found the Wisconsin GOP's redistricting secrecy equally reprehensible:
"Merely hiding political decisions behind the closed doors (and email servers) of a law firm does not make the advice offered any less political, strategic, or policy related," the order said.
"Without a doubt, the Legislature made a conscious choice to involve private lawyers in what gives every appearance of an attempt - albeit poorly disguised - to cloak the private machinations of Wisconsin's Republican legislators in the shroud of attorney-client privilege. What could have - indeed should have - been accomplished publicly instead took place in private, in an all but shameful attempt to hide the redistricting process from public scrutiny."


Say What? said...

Eerily similar cases.

Steve Schmuki said...

Is it any wonder that citizens continue to loose faith in our legislative process. I hear all the time, friends and clients, feeling disenfranchisement and loss of any confidence in our legislative institutions. Sad.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Yeah, but the Chicago Appeals Court let those maps stand in Wisconsin, and the GOP aides were allowed to walk free despite violating court orders and tampering with evidence.

As a result, the WisGOPs were rewarded for acting illegally. I can't draw a comparison with Florida as a result