Isn’t it curious how the court selected these two people to decide if the new maps – yet to be drawn – are “fair?” How were they selected? Who interviewed them? Was there input from litigants in the lawsuit? How much will it cost? Was the selection process competitive? How many other people were considered? Who is accountable for their performance? Who is watching the watchers? While the story below attempts to paint them as fair, unbiased arbiters, the opaque selection process that chose them oozes a hand on the scale. This is not what good governent looks like.
When the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week ordered parties to a redistricting lawsuit to draw new legislative maps, it also named two referees to evaluate the maps’ adequacy.
The two consultants — University of California, Irvine political science professor Bernard Grofman and Carnegie Mellon University postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Cervas — may not be household names in Wisconsin, but they have played prominent roles in settling map disputes in other states.
Grofman was recently one of two special masters the Virginia Supreme Court hired to draw new maps after that state’s bipartisan commission deadlocked on selecting new ones. Nominated by Democrats, Grofman worked with a Republican-nominated special master to forge new congressional and legislative maps in Virginia that followed similar principles the Wisconsin Supreme Court set forth last week.
Cervas has also been involved in creating new political maps. After a New York judge found Democratic-proposed maps unconstitutional, a judge hired Cervas to redraw boundaries for the state’s U.S. House seats and state Senate.