On Feb. 2, the leadership committees in both the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly approved the hiring of an outside law firm to file a friend-of-the-court brief in defense of their redistricting map.
The redistricting plan, enacted as 2011 Wis. Act 43, was struck down by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. In their 159-page opinion, the court found that:
Act 43 was intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters throughout the decennial period by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats. Moreover, as demonstrated by the results of the 2012 and 2014 elections, among other evidence, we conclude that Act 43 has had its intended effect. Finally, 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.
Attorney General Brad Schimel will represent the state Election Commission in defense of the redistricting map. “In his news release after the court decision, Schimel noted that the “2-1 decision does not affect the results of [the November 2016] election or any prior election and legislative district boundaries remain unchanged until the court rules on any remedy.”