March 22, 2012
Court Gives Legislature Another Chance to Conduct Fair and Open Redistricting Process
Rep. Hebl Calls for Transparent Redistricting Process in Wake of Federal Court Declaring Parts of Act 43 Unconstitutional
Madison- The United State Eastern District Court of Wisconsin ruled today that the Republican redistricting plan (Act 43) violated the federal Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising Latino voters in Milwaukee. As a result, the Court enjoined the enforcement of the maps created by Act 43.
In addition to finding that Republicans violated federal law, the federal judges who decided the case harshly criticized the secretive process Republicans used to create their redistricting plan. The Court’s opinion stated that the Republicans employed a “needlessly secret” process that excluded “input from the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin citizens.” The private attorneys hired by legislative Republicans were desperate to conceal their clients’ decision-making processes. Their desperation to keep the process secret was so extreme that they were eventually sanctioned by the Court for refusing to comply with court orders requiring them to disclose documents to other parties in the case.
“Today’s ruling demonstrates that the Wisconsin Legislature must commit itself to a transparent redistricting process that respects voting rights, public input and local communities. The extreme partisanship and secrecy that has marred the redistricting process to this point needs to stop. Now that the Court has given the Legislature another chance to do redistricting right, I look forward to working with Republicans on a redistricting process that honors Wisconsin’s longstanding commitment to open and transparent government.”