Wisconsin Supreme Court denies GOP petition to oversee redistricting

By: - May 14, 2021 1:47 pm
Wisconsin State Supreme Court entrance

Photo by Mike Steele | Flickr CC BY 2.0

On Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously denied a petition by former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty to ensure that the state Supreme Court, rather than federal courts, oversee redistricting litigation in Wisconsin.

The opinion noted that written comments collected from citizens and public interest organizations suggested that “the proposal is partisan.”

“The court determined that, as drafted, the procedures proposed in this administrative rule petition are unlikely to materially aid this court’s consideration of an as yet undefined future redistricting challenge, and voted to deny the petition,” the opinion stated.

But, the majority warned, “Our decision in this rule matter should not be deemed predictive of this court’s response to a petition for review asking this court to review a lower court’s ruling on a redistricting challenge.”

“The  State Supreme Court has made the right decision in denying the effort to rig the map-drawing process through a ridiculously partisan proposed rule,” said Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project. “The Legislature should now commit to an open, honest, transparent and fair process to draw and approve district maps for the next decade. The people deserve nothing less.”

20-03 Final Order

On Monday, in a separate court case, Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke refused to stay his decision to bar Republican legislators from hiring attorneys in advance of potential lawsuits over the redistricting process. Elke had ordered the GOP legislative leaders to dissolve taxpayer-funded contracts with lawyers they were keeping on retainer in anticipation of lawsuits that had not yet been filed. The legislators are appealing that decision, and wanted Elke to stay it until the District 3 Court of Appeals in Wausau takes up the appeal. 


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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Her book "Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers" won the 2022 Studs and Ida Terkel Award from The New Press.