Dear Wisconsin Supreme Court
Please follow normal procedures and allow all petitioners to be heard on critical issue of gerrymandering.
Letter from the Wisconsin Democracy’s Campaign executive director opposing the petition requesting that legal challenges to redistricting bypass federal courts and go directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The Honorable Justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court
c/o Clerk of the Supreme Court
P.O. Box 1688 Madison, WI 53701
Re: Petition 20-03
Dear Honorable Justices,
As the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, I am writing to you to oppose Petition 20-03 submitted by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) regarding the process for hearing legal challenges to redistricting.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is dedicated to open and transparent government and to a democracy where everyone has an equal voice. We also are strong advocates for independent, nonpartisan redistricting. We believe gerrymandering is wrong, whether Democrats or Republicans are doing it.
First, we see no compelling reason why any legal challenge to redistricting should jump immediately to the Wisconsin Supreme Court rather than work its way through the courts in a normal fashion. The establishment of a record at the lower court level would enhance transparency and enable the citizens of Wisconsin to grasp the evidence in the case and the competing arguments as they wend their way through the courts.
Second, we are concerned that we and other nonprofit public interest organizations could get aced out of any hearing on redistricting maps before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The WILL petition, in Section 5(b), requires only that the political parties be heard by the Court in any dispute over the maps. It does not allow room, explicitly at least, for groups like ours that have a longstanding interest in this issue to be heard. Redistricting is not simply a dispute between the parties. It is a matter of great public interest, and our 1,600 members are intensely concerned about it and would, I’m sure, want us to be able to present our view to the court.
Third, the proposed rule that WILL is advancing gives the Court the leeway to disregard the procedures and requirements laid out in the rule itself. So that’s no rule at all if it allows you to toss everything out the window and just do what you want. If you’re going to have a rule, it should be abided by, and it should be transparent, and it should be applied in a fair manner.
I appreciate your consideration of our views on this matter.
Matthew Rothschild Executive Director
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
- Will State Supreme Court Draw New Legislative Boundaries? - Shawn Johnson - Jan 15th, 2021
- Data Wonk: Tales Told By The 2020 Election - Bruce Thompson - Dec 31st, 2020
- Court Watch: 2,000 Object to Redistricting Proposal - Gretchen Schuldt - Dec 13th, 2020
- Murphys Law: Beware the GOP Redistricting Proposal - Bruce Murphy - Dec 2nd, 2020
- Op Ed: Dear Wisconsin Supreme Court - Matt Rothschild - Nov 23rd, 2020
- Former lawmakers to go ‘On the Issues’ for virtual bipartisan conversation on redistricting, Oct. 13 - Marquette University - Oct 12th, 2020
- The State of Politics: GOP Once Bypassed Governor on Redistricting - Steven Walters - Oct 12th, 2020
- Eric Holder Meets With State Redistricting Commission - Shawn Johnson - Oct 3rd, 2020
- People’s Maps Commission Plans First Hearing - Melanie Conklin - Sep 29th, 2020
- Film Details Disenfranchisement in Wisconsin - Erik Gunn - Sep 24th, 2020
Read more about Gerrymandering of Legislative Districts here