AG Schimel files brief to U.S. Supreme Court in redistricting ca - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

AG Schimel files brief to U.S. Supreme Court in redistricting case

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in the state redistricting case set for October 3, the Wisconsin Department of Justice formally responded to claims the Assembly and Senate district maps drawn by Republicans in 2011 are unconstitutional.

In a 34-page brief filed Friday, DOJ attorneys claim the court's nine justices should conclude they have no jurisdiction over statewide gerrymandering claims, like the ones being presented in Gill v. Whitford.

Both a U.S. district court judge, and a three-judge U.S. court of appeals panel, ruled the current legislative maps favor Republican candidates to the point where the twelve Democratic plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are being deprived of their constitutional rights.
    
Attorneys for the the plaintiffs used a formula called the "efficiency gap," to show the maps were drawn to create huge Republican voter margins in the majority of the state's Assembly districts.

As a result, both lower courts ruled the partisan gerrymander by Republicans was unconstitutional.

The courts concluded the Assembly and Senate maps should be thrown out and redrawn.

Senate districts were also ruled unconstitutional, because they are comprised of multiple Assembly districts.

In an interview for this weekend's edition of Capital City Sunday, Attorney General Schimel told 27 News he doubts the justices will accept the appeals court ruling.

"In order for that to happen, there has to be a clear, precise and neutral standard that they can apply nationwide," said Schimel. "You know, the efficiency gap, it's not clear to us right now whether it's on the table or not, because of the finding of the lower court and the arguments that have been made."

Schimel said the appeals court judges did not based their ruling on that efficiency gap measure, nor did they conclude it should be used in cases going forward.

But a spokesperson for the plaintiffs told 27 News the efficiency gap only applies to one part of a three-prong test accepted by the lower courts.

Sachin Cheda said Attorney General Schimel is misinterpreting the appeals court ruling.

Cheda said along with creating a map that caused Democratic votes to be wasted, the three-prong test also shows Wisconsin Republicans intended to create wasted votes, and that there is no other legitimate reason to explain the disparity.
    
Cheda said attorneys for the plaintiffs believe those three criteria could be applied to any statewide set of districts across the country.

You can see Attorney General Brad Schimel's entire interview on Capital City Sunday at 9:00 a.m. on WXOW.

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