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Assembly Republicans ask court to halt proceedings in redistricting case

January 10, 2019

The Republican-controlled state Assembly has requested a court halt proceedings in Wisconsin’s redistricting case pending U.S. Supreme Court action on similar cases from other states.

Lawyers for the Assembly, which intervened in the case last fall, wrote to the court Monday saying two cases the Supreme Court agreed to hear on appeal present the same issues as Wisconsin’s Gill vs. Whitford case and that holding a trial would be unnecessary until the Supreme Court cases are resolved.

“Proceeding before the Supreme Court issues its decisions would be an unnecessary waste of the Court’s and the parties’ time and resources,” the Assembly lawyers wrote.

The Supreme Court earlier this month elected to hear in March two gerrymandering cases on appeal from Maryland and North Carolina.

Assembly lawyers argued it makes sense to delay proceedings in Gill vs. Whitford given it’s likely an eventual ruling in the North Carolina and Maryland cases will have a significant effect on the Wisconsin case, such as narrowing the issues it can present or vacating the case entirely.

The motion from the Assembly comes as witnesses in Wisconsin’s gerrymandering case prepare to give testimony.

The Supreme Court in June 2018 remanded the Wisconsin case back to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin after it found the case lacked standing.

A panel of judges in 2016 had ruled the state’s 2011 political maps represented an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander allowing Republicans to take a significant majority of seats in the Assembly despite Democrats winning the popular vote.

Republicans dispute allegations they intentionally engineered the maps in their favor, contending GOP voters are naturally dispersed geographically across the state while Democrats are clustered in cities.

After the Supreme Court remanded the case, the District Court scheduled a new trial for April 23.

The Republican-controlled Assembly was permitted to join the case as a defendant in November.

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