Plaintiffs in Wisconsin’s legislative redistricting lawsuit are asking a federal court to throw out the state’s Assembly map and implement a timeline for creating a new one ahead of the 2018 and 2020 legislative elections. The plaintiffs and Attorney General Brad Schimel, representing the state, filed new briefs in federal court Wednesday following a decision by a panel of judges last month ruling Wisconsin’s map an unconstitutional gerrymander. Judges asked both parties to submit more briefs with proposals for what to do about the map. Schimel is asking the court to keep the map in place for now and wait until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a ruling on the issue. If it decides the map needs to be replaced, it should direct the Legislature redraw it to comply with its ruling, according to his brief. “The Legislature, the Court, and the parties should not expend resources drawing and debating a plan that is merely a placeholder until the Supreme Court rules on the issue,” Schimel wrote. In their brief, the plaintiffs argue that the judges’ November ruling means that the process for creating new maps should begin immediately and the current map should be eliminated.
In their decision, a federal panel of judges ruled that the maps created by state Republican lawmakers in 2012 was “intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters throughout the decennial period.” The judges argued that the state district map’s “discriminatory effect is not explained by the political geography of Wisconsin nor is it justified by a legitimate state interest.”
Ruth Greenwood, deputy director of redistricting with the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., said the court should supervise the process for creating a new constitutional map for the state Assembly.
“We will oppose the state’s request for a stay of the decision pending an appeal to the Supreme Court because we want to make sure that the 2018 elections can be held under a fair district plan,” Greenwood wrote in an email. “We remain confident that we will win at the Supreme Court so there is no reason to delay the implementation of a fair plan for our plaintiffs and all Wisconsin voters.”