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State, Opponents File Dueling Proposals In Federal Redistricting Case

State DOJ, Plaintiffs In Lawsuit Offer Plans For Future Of Legislative Map

Former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey at a 2011 redistricting trial
Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Obey testifies at a legislative hearing on Republican redistricting plans in July 2011 in Madison, Wis. Scott Bauer/AP Photo 

The state Department of Justice and a group of Wisconsin Democrats have filed dueling plans in federal court for the future of Wisconsin’s legislative district map.

The state wants the court to order the Republican-controlled legislature to redraw the map. It also plans to appeal the court’s ruling that the map is unconstitutional, pushing the case to the United States Supreme Court, if the court chooses to take it.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said he’s optimistic the federal court will agree to put a hold on its ruling, while the case is pending a Supreme Court appeal.

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“The process is very time consuming of going back and redoing the maps,” Schimel said. “I think they’ll recognize that you don’t want to get started down that road if the Supreme Court doesn’t ultimately uphold the decision.”

Schimel also said he’s optimistic about the state’s chances on appeal.

“Our position is that there are some political redistrictings in other states that were more partisan than Wisconsin’s and they’ve been upheld,” he said.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, a group of Democrats, want the court to redraw the map, and for the process to begin immediately, so new maps are in place for 2018 elections.

“The GOP majority violated the rights of Wisconsin’s citizens when they adopted the map,” said Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Election Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit, in a prepared statement. “The citizens of Wisconsin should have a chance to elect a government which represents us.”

Both sides have until Thursday, Jan. 5 to respond to the other’s proposal.