Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature plan to hire two law firms in hopes of overturning a ruling that found they must redraw legislative maps. Aides to Republican leaders declined to say Wednesday how much hiring the firms would cost taxpayers. A panel of three federal judges in the fall found maps Republicans drew in 2011 were so favorable to their party that they violated the voting rights of Democrats. Last month, the judges ordered them to establish new maps by November. Leadership committees in the Assembly and Senate are set to approve hiring the law firms on Thursday. The law firms will draft friend-of-the-court briefs to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision, said Myranda Tanck, a spokeswoman for state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
The law firms, which she declined to name, are not being retained to draw new maps, she said.
The case is being handled by Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, who has promised to appeal. The lawsuit was brought against the state Elections Commission — not the Legislature — and lawmakers are hiring their own firm so they can weigh in on the case themselves.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said hiring counsel would be costly and unnecessary. He believes legislators should draw new maps.
Full Article: Wisconsin GOP to hire law firms to defend redistricting.