Law Forward has indicated they are already working on the lawsuit they will file that could make it in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and ultimately knock down our current rigged maps.
There’s already talk of another constitutional amendment on our next ballot.
And New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has some fantastic parting words.
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Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court is about to see its first liberal majority in 15 years, and a liberal law firm is planning to challenge the state’s voting maps, claiming that partisan gerrymandering violates the Wisconsin Constitution. The challenge will be filed in the coming weeks or months after Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz is sworn in on Aug. 1, according to Nicole Safar, executive director of Madison-based Law Forward. Protasiewicz, who won a landslide victory on Tuesday, defeated conservative former Justice Daniel Kelly by 11%, giving liberals their first majority since 2008. Safar said her colleagues are still figuring out the most successful arguments and haven’t started writing briefs for their legal challenge yet.
The lawsuit won’t ask the court to relitigate a lawsuit that determined the state’s current voting districts. Instead, it will focus on “how the extreme partisan gerrymander that we have in Wisconsin is in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution,” Safar said, adding that the lawsuit will focus on state law, not federal law. The law firm is eager to test its theory before the Wisconsin Supreme Court because it no longer feels federal courts are “there to protect and vindicate our basic rights, like the right to vote, the right to access abortion, the right to marry who we choose,” Safar added.
Redrawing voting districts usually only takes place once a decade, following the completion of the U.S. Census. However, there is some precedent for new maps to be approved more than once a decade. Protasiewicz signaled that she would welcome a challenge to the legislative districts while running for the high court. She said that if elected, she “would anticipate that at some point, we’ll be looking at those maps,” adding that Wisconsin’s intense and close statewide elections are not reflected in the dominant Republican majorities in the Legislature. Any legal challenge to the state’s legislative and congressional districts will likely be met with ire from Republicans, who last year won the redistricting battle before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The Republican-controlled Legislature in Wisconsin is proposing a constitutional amendment that would give it control over federal funds allocated to the state. The proposed amendment would prohibit any executive branch official or department from allocating any federal dollars without first securing approval from a legislative committee, which would likely be the GOP-led budget committee.
If approved by the full Legislature and voters in a future referendum, the Legislature would reclaim the power to determine how federal funds are spent, which has long been held by the governor. Republicans have pushed for more control over how Democratic Gov. Tony Evers doles out such funds since early in the COVID-19 pandemic when billions in relief were being pumped into the state. Democrats have opposed the amendment, describing it as a “pointless power grab” and raising concerns that it could limit the state’s ability to quickly allocate emergency funds, such as those provided during the pandemic.
The proposed amendment has been supported by the Badger Institute, a Milwaukee-based conservative think tank, and opposed by several organizations, including the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Wisconsin Education Association Council, and the Wisconsin Public Health Association. The resolution passed the Legislature last session, securing 20-11 votes in the Senate and 60-36 in the Assembly.
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