Monday, November 21, 2016

Judges find WI Legislature illegally constituted since redistricting

[Updated] Wisconsin's one-party governance has been illegally constituted.

Madison — Two weeks after a stunning election defeat, Wisconsin Democrats won an equally surprising court victory Monday as a federal court struck down legislative maps drawn by Republicans in 2011.
A panel of federal judges ruled 2-1 that the redistricting maps were "intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters throughout the (10-year) period by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats."
As we all knew. And said.

And noted, almost five years ago with revulsion, that the brutally partisan process was carried out with public funds in secret:

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.
Like another secretive Walker/GOP legislative drafting issue  - - not an error.

And we also know that the many, multi-layered partisan and class-based policy damages statewide nder this illegal government have been done, intentionally and in many cases irreparably, led by this man, who, with the Legislature and Attorney General and state courts they control in one-party, falsely-led red Wisconsin will try and block and undo what the federal judges found today.

A partial list of the damage done:

The overall diminution of the public sector and the public interest in favor of well-heeled, well-connected special interests, tax favors and other big benefits to the 1% and tax increases for lower-income Wisconsinites, the effective end of Civil Service hiring, a near-erasure of public sector collective bargaining, the installation of right-to-work rules in private sector union shops and the end for working people of higher, 'prevailing wages' on public projects, the sell-off of public lands and eased pollution enforcement by the state natural resources department along with the giveaway of public groundwater enabled big ag and huge feedlot operators by that department with an assist by an equally ideologically-hard-edged, corporately-captive GOP Attorney General, the closing and financial starvation of Planned Parenthood clinics, mandatory drug-testing of public assistance recipients dog-whistled clearly by Walker to non-minority voters and audiences, the reduction of food stamp availability for the poor, campaign coordination with Koch/related and other big-dollar conservative advocacy interests and corporations to take over and harden control of the State Supreme Court, the monkey-wrenching of Obamacare, cuts to public transit, rollbacks of multiple local control matters, easier development on shorelines, etc. etc.
Update - - The New York Times declares the decision historic:

Several election-law scholars said the ruling was especially significant because it offered, for the first time, a clear mathematical formula for measuring partisanship in a district, something that had been missing in previous assaults on gerrymandering.
The 2-to-1 ruling by the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin said that the Legislature’s remapping violated both the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it aimed to deprive Democratic voters of their right to be represented.
“Although Wisconsin’s natural political geography plays some role in the apportionment process,” the court wrote, “it simply does not explain adequately the sizable disparate effect” of Republican gains in the State Assembly after the boundaries were redrawn.
And one more thing:

I am sure that there were some in the Wisconsin GOP who anticipated today's ruling throwing out the last Legislative redistricting as unconstitutional, but went along with it because they and the party knew that, in the interim, they could pass every partisan, right-wing, big-business, anti-union, pro-polluter, misogynist and race-baiting measure they had always dreamed of laying on Wisconsin. 

Which they have done - - and managed to deliver Wisconsin to the equally repulsive, alt-right embodied incoming Donald Trump administration.

Walker and his cronies are the ultimate ends-justifying-the-means game-players.

It's too bad the remedies which the courts in the redistricting can impose are civil.

People who corrupt a democratic state should go to jail. 


Milwaukeean said...

Too late for a lot of seats lost -- but this timing may allow for any appeal to the Supreme Court be resolved in time to start winning back legislative seats n 2018 and 2020, when redistricting begins anew.

Allen said...

Let's hear it for the third branch of federal government!

Anonymous said...

So what kind of ramifications can we expect as a result? Do the maps revert? Do any Republicans get to wear orange?

Anonymous said...

AG Schimmel has created a special group of ADA's to fight any and all decisions overturning anything this administration has done. The next thing we hear about this will be his appeal of this decision.

Anonymous said...

Illegqal ilschmegal -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says there is nothing to see here and that we should all hold hands, sing Cum By Ya, and vote for the criminals again and again because, well, that is what a propaganda rag does.

Nathan said...

The case will now go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court for affirmation or scheduling for a review and ruling.
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AvangionQ said...

Gerrymandering can be defeated by enforcing shortest split-line at the federal level ... that said, it is the republicans who benefit most from gerrymandering, so don't expect such changes until at least 2018 ...

my5cents said...

If Trump gets to seat the next Supreme Court Justice, this ruling will be overturned. You can bet on that. More cheating so that they can stay in power a mete out more their ALEC legislation to benefit the wealthy and corporations while putting their thumb on the blue collar worker who votes them into office. Go figure!!!