Boots & Sabers

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2024, 21 Nov 16


Federal Court Rules Redistricting Unconstitutional

This is a bad ruling.

Madison — Two weeks after a stunning election defeat, Wisconsin Democrats won an equally surprising legal victory Monday as a federal court struck down legislative maps drawn by Republicans in 2011.

The judges ruled 2-1 that the maps were unconstitutional because they were “intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters … by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats.”

Depending on the outcome of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the case could have national implications because it includes a new method of determining whether legislative maps are drawn in a way that discriminates against voters of a particular party.

“We find that the discriminatory effect is not explained by the political geography of Wisconsin nor is it justified by a legitimate state interest. Consequently, Act 43 constitutes an unconstitutional political gerrymander,” the judges wrote in their 159-page decision.

The ruling focused on the state’s 99 Assembly seats, but redrawing those districts also would alter the state Senate map. That’s because each Senate district consists of three Assembly districts. The ruling does not affect congressional maps, which also were redrawn to benefit Republicans in 2011.

The judges did not determine how to fix the maps, writing that would be decided in the coming months after the state and the Democrats who brought the lawsuit offer proposals. It’s possible the judges would establish a new set of maps or require lawmakers to redraw them.

So two judges invent an entirely new standard that takes into account people’s political party – not a protected class – in order to find the redistricting unconstitutional. Riiiiight… Not to mention the fact that we have had three elections with these districts and the new ones will be drawn in five years. It took them a full five years to come up with this ruling and it will likely be years until they come up with a “solution.” Justice delayed is justice denied.

This is the judicial branch encroaching on the Legislature’s prerogative to advance a political agenda.


2024, 21 November 2016



  1. billphoto

    Not the judges business but not that far off base.  When we did redistricting, the first draft was done by population and districts.  That went in the trash after it was pointed out that 4 incumbents were in the same district.  The “revised” map made sure everyone would be re-elected.

  2. jjf

    Has anyone from the WisGOP ever explained the rationale behind their methodology, as well as the technical methodology, behind the new maps? What was their objective? Or why they had to erase all the hard drives afterwards?

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