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New Lawsuits Ask State, Federal Courts To Handle Wisconsin Redistricting

Shawn Johnson | Published on 8/23/2021

Cases Include One Arguing Wisconsin Supreme Court Could Redraw State's Political Lines

Two new lawsuits filed Monday asked courts to get involved in Wisconsin's next round of redistricting, including one by a conservative group telling Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices that they could potentially redraw the state's political lines themselves.

The cases were the second and third redistricting lawsuits filed since the process officially began earlier this month, setting the stage for a legal fight that could span several months and multiple courtrooms.

The latest lawsuits included one filed by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, telling justices that — if needed — they could redraw them map themselves with minimal changes to the district lines Republicans passed in 2011.

The move comes about 10 days after Democrats filed their own redistricting lawsuit in federal court asking judges there to draw the map. A coalition of groups that have worked with Democrats on redistricting, including Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de la Frontera and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed their own lawsuit in the same federal court Monday, likewise telling judges that they might need to draw the map.

The once-a-decade battle over the legislative maps that will shape Wisconsin's politics until 2032 will almost certainly be decided in court this cycle because Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Republican-controlled Legislature are unlikely to agree to new maps on their own. That puts an intensified focus on which court will hear the case and how its judges might lean.