Mar 22, 2012

Republicans Went Soviet—Redistricting Decision‏ Harshly Condemns GOP

Thinks he can do to Wisconsin what he did to Milwaukee
Wisconsinites know Scott Walker and the Republicans believe public policy exists to rig the game to keep Walker and the GOP in power against the Wisconsin people.

Now, a panel of the federal judges has joined Wisconsinites behind the Recall movement by blasting Walker and the GOP in their decision to quash the secret GOP redistricting maps and their order the legislature to draw another map.

In Baldus et al, Baldwin et al v. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Sensenbrenner et al; and Voces De La Frontera et al v. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, et al [Case No, 11-CV-1011 (JPS-DPW-RMD)], Judges Stadtmueller, Wood and Dow sound a lot like the people of Wisconsin in criticizing Walker and the Republicans' conduct.

From an e-mail going around on the state on the judicial panel's Memorandum, Opinion and Order, called the "greatest hits" from the redistricting decision.

Regrettably, like many other states, Wisconsin chose a sharply partisan methodology that has cost the state in dollars, time, and civility. (Page 4, Par 1)

The new governor and legislators were sworn in on January 3, 2011, and the very next day the Republican legislative leadership announced to members of the Democratic minority that the Republicans would be provided unlimited funds to hire counsel and consultants for the purposes of legislative redistricting. They informed then Democrats that they would not receive any funding for this process. (Page 5, Par 1)

Every effort was made to keep this work out of the public eye and, most particularly, out of the eye of the Democrats. (Page 5, Par 2)

The drafters did not limit their outreach to public officials; they also held meetings behind closed doors with selected outsiders. In January 2011, they met with certain private business interests, including representatives from realtor and banking associations, and a hybrid state chamber of commerce called Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. (Page 6, Par 2)

Instead, upending more than a century of practice in Wisconsin, Act 39 required the municipalities to adjust their ward lines to the new state legislative districts. (Page 8, Par 2)

Our analysis of each of the plaintiffs’ claims leads us to the conclusion that Act 43 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. § 1973(a), by improperly diluting the citizen voting age population of Latinos across Assembly Districts 8 and 9. (Page 10, Par 2)

Only 323,026 people needed to be moved from one assembly district to another in order to equalize the populations numerically, but instead Act 43 moves more than seven times that number–2,357,592 people–for a net change that results in districts that are roughly equal in size. Similarly, only 231,341 people needed to move in order to create equal senate districts, but Act 43 moves 1,205,216–more than five times as many. (Page 14, line 10-15)

We come to that conclusion not because we credit the testimony of Foltz, Ottman, and the other drafters to the effect that they were not influenced by partisan factors; indeed, we find those statements to be almost laughable. (Page 17 Line 26-27, page 18 line 1-2)

we do not understand defendants to be arguing that a voter can constitutionally be deprived of the right to vote in a particular race–maybe for the House of Representatives–as long as he/she may vote for dog-catcher or the library board. The right to vote is a fundamental right for every elective office in a democracy. (Page 19 11-15)

“The evidence shows that the new lines for Districts 8 and 9 will be disruptive to the Latino community of interest.” P. 28

“Section 2 rights are too valuable to be evaluated on an expert’s unsubstantiated opinion.” P. 30

“It is no matter, however, because Dr. Grofman’s supposition utterly ignores the radical reconfiguration that the New Assembly District 8 imposes.” P. 30

“We take the GAB at its word that it will use the 2002 districts. That is sensible, especially in light of the command in the Wisconsin Constitution not to re-district more than once each 10 years.” P. 32 (this pertains to the recall elections)

“We find that…the drafting of Act 43 was needlessly secret, regrettably excluding input from the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin citizens, and although the final product needlessly move more than a million Wisconsinites and disrupted their long-standing political relationships…” P. 34

“Tempers can flare when people are excluded from the political process, whether they are shut out because of their party affiliation, because of their race, because of their economic status, or because of any other trait. Such a contentious atmosphere is neither necessary nor desirable. We know that it is not necessary, because courts hold themselves to a higher standard and have succeeded in drawing successful maps time and time again. We should have learned that it is not desirable because of the rancor that it fosters.” Pp’s 34-35

“IT IS ORDERED that the plaintiff’s and intervenor-plaintiffs’ Sixth Claim for relief be and the same is hereby GRANTED, the Court having found that New Assembly Districts 8 and 9 violate the Voting Rights Act, and, accordingly, the Government Accountability Board is hereby ENJOINED from implementing Act 43 in its current form;” P. 37

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