Gerrymandering dropped from redistricting lawsuit

The MJS is reporting two components of the redistricting trial taking place have been dropped by Democrats. They no longer wish to pursue the idea the districts were gerrymandered, and they are not interested in African-American neighborhood boundaries.

If there was ever proof that procrastination pays, the Dems dropping gerrymandering is enough for me. I have twelve tabs of research open to prove that the new districts are not in any way gerrymandered. There are specific criterion that determine the offense and they have not been crossed. Waiting to write this saved me a lot of argument!

That leaves in the lawsuit whether or not Latino neighborhoods deserve special privilege when redrawing districts, and the issue that approximately 300,000 people will wait an extra two years to vote for representation.

When are we going to stop discriminating in our voting practices? After all, drawing lines to accommodate a voting block is just as discriminatory as forcing that voter to sit at the back of the bus. The only question is whether or not the Voting Rights Act was violated. If Republicans were clever enough to avoid that issue in African-American neighborhoods as the Dems conceded today, don’t you think they would have applied the same logic to the Latino areas? Of course they did. Wisconsin has never been a state in the watch areas for voting rights.

The idea that everyone should get to vote exactly on previous schedule is ridiculous. After all, people move between districts at will and cause that same result. Those voters delayed still have representation. Just not the representation they voted. And when will Wisconsin come to terms with the concept that just because your choice didn’t win, you are still represented? Just not by your first choice.

The judges gave the Republicans an opportunity to reset the districts in advance of the trial to save themselves the heartache of having to call this one for what it is: a time-wasting attempt to force judges to legislate instead of defend current law. The complaints I’ve seen on this issue are about what that law should be, not what it is. The Recess Supervisor has pined away not once but twice on the subject. It doesn’t matter a hill of pinto beans what some policy wonk thinks the rules should be in Wisconsin or that he finds the lines badly drawn. What matters today is what the rules ARE and whether precedence was followed.

Equally superfluous are the arguments shown in testimony that Democrats were left out of the process, the GAB was left out of the process, Scott Jensen saw the maps before you did, or that voters were moved to new districts. There is, as the Attorney General’s office has stated, no legal defense to opposing these new districts as none of those complaints are required under the current law.

I had to draw new district lines in a voting behaviors class. We were assigned in groups to 1) guarantee majority Republican wins, 2) guarantee majority Democratic wins, or 3) maintain a majority of competitive districts. Each assignment came with the demand the districts met criterion outlined to avoid a gerrymandering charge. Drawing these lines isn’t hard. A housewife in search of an “A” pulled it off just fine. But make no mistake, these new districts are a big deal. And the fact they will likely stick is going to be very hard on Democrats in this state for a decade.

When’s the last time you heard the details of Act 10 enumerated? Exactly. Sure, unions are demanding their “rights” back in a recall, but the specifics of that act were upheld as I predicted. I took a lot of heat for that at the time. Voter ID is law, and a first election has been held, and you didn’t hear much then, either. And now, by the end of the day, testimony will be in on these new districts. The lines will hold. After all, they were legislated, and they were legislated because that is what the current law demands.

Democrats lost big last November and they have scurried for nearly a year to fight that reality. It’s costing this state a fortune for them to thrash it all out. But these new lines? They are the most painful reminder of all to the losers. Long past Scott Walker as governor, long after everyone can’t remember a time when they didn’t need a photo ID to vote, these lines will continue to lead Wisconsin to lean right.


  1. “The judges gave the Republicans an opportunity to reset the districts in advance of the trial to save themselves the heartache of having to call this one for what it is: a time-wasting attempt to force judges to legislate instead of defend current law.”

    I guess I interpreted this exactly the opposite of how you did. I’m pretty sure you misunderstood RS’s most recent post on the topic as well.

    During the 1980’s redistricting cycle, the maps were overturned for making a mere 173,976 voters wait an extra 2 years. So based on that precedent, these maps would surely be overturned.

    It seems to me that what the judges were actually saying was, “Look, these maps are unconstitutional. Now, do you want to fix them yourselves or do you really want to make us do it for you?”

  2. Except those maps were never legislated to start, right? I think it’s apples and oranges. These maps are law. You need to get me a link to let the argument stand. Here’s all I could find about the 1980’s:

    The 1980s. A Democratic-controlled legislature and a Republican governor were unable to agree on a legislative plan and a 3-judge federal panel in June 1982 promulgated a legislative redistricting plan (AFL-CIO v. Elections Board, 543 F. Supp. 630 (E.D. Wis. 1981))to govern the November 1982 elections to all 99 assembly districts and 17 of 33 senate districts. In July 1983, the court plan was superseded by the legislative redistricting enacted by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Earl (1983 Wisconsin Act 29). The 1981 Legislature adopted a congressional redistricting plan (Chapters 154 and 155, Laws of 1981) after an earlier plan was vetoed by Governor Lee Dreyfus.

    I still like the way I called it. I just don’t see how there’s federal law to support the plaintiff’s request.

  3. BarrySanders20 says:

    Cindy’s right. The maps will hold and all of this will be revealed for what it was all along — a political show to score points attacking the process when the process is legally irrelevant to whether the maps, as drawn, are constitutional.

    The judges did not want to have to do their job and rule on the merits, because they are angry about tactics used in the legislative process and litigation (and are offended that those tactics violate some undefined notion oabout Wisconsin’s political purity — itself a dubious notion), yet must ultimately find that the maps do not violate the law. It really should not have even progressed this far.

    Dead bang legal loser for the plantiffs, though they accomplished their political goal. Illegitimately, through abuse of the legal system.

  4. Ha!

    (Ha ha ha.) No, I’m no longer classy enough to pull off a response much beyond “ha!”