Send Comments for a fair and transparent redistricting process to WI Supreme Court: Deadline Nov 30

Please write the Wisconsin Supreme Court today and tell them that you oppose this upcoming Rule 20-03 relating to legal challenges to redistricting - Action Alert from the WI Democracy Campaign. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is taking public comments on a proposed rule that would pre-rig the process for the drawing of legislative and congressional district maps and would likely lead to another gerrymander in Wisconsin. The proposed rule was submitted by the rightwing Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), and it has the following flaws:         

- First, it would jump any legal challenge to redistricting immediately to the Wisconsin Supreme Court rather than let that challenge 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, nonprofit public interest organizations and concerned citizens 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.

- 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. Please write the Wisconsin Supreme Court today and tell them that you oppose this rule and tell them why in your own words.  At the top of your letter, please note that you are writing concerning Rule Petition 20-03 relating to legal challenges to redistricting.

(It's too late to have the Fair Maps Coalition send your letter, so you'll need to follow this procedure:

How to make a Public Comment: 

* A comment to a pending rule petition shall be submitted in hard copy (include one original and nine copies). 

  • The paper copies shall be mailed to the Clerk of the Supreme Court, P.O. Box 1688, Madison, WI 53701.
  • A person submitting a comment shall e-mail an electronic copy of the comment in MS Word format to the Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court at clerk@wicourts.gov.

II. Contents of comment: The comment shall identify the rule petition to which it relates.
III. Service of comment on petitioner: A copy of the comment shall be forwarded to the petitioner in a timely manner. See the rule petition for the name and contact information of the petitioner.

 Need help or have questions or want to help more?

 Contact Mel Barnes (she, hers), Staff Counsel at Mbarnes@lawforward.org or  920.740.1816

 Contact Wisconsin Voices staffer Carleen Bechen carlene@wisconsinvoices.org  608-513-7655

 Matt Rothschild, WDC Executive Director, rothschild@wisdc.org


MORE DETAILS

 

Background - You have probably never submitted a Public Comment to the WI Supreme Court. But these are unique times. WILL, a conservative group, proposed in June that our WI Supreme Court set new rules to give itself exclusive court power to oversee the processes of redistricting as soon as the census numbers are in.  And yet the WI Supreme Court could later disregard the processes and requirements they first set in their court rules.  So who knows what procedures would really be followed! The rules are proposed to be a rushed process with little or no input except for the major parties and their litigants. These proposed rules provide no process for ordinary citizens to be heard, despite having lived under the current extreme, secret gerrymander. These rules provide no process for local office holders, who have worked under the current confusing lines and split -up municipalities. Meanwhile political parties would automatically be expected to intervene.

The Coalition for Fair Maps strongly opposes WI Supreme Court taking this power upon itself.  It makes the Court look partisan. The WI Supreme Court announced on Nov 4th that it was taking up WILL's proposed petition, and set the tight schedule for very little time for Public Comment.

Please contact friends, family, neighbors and other groups within your sphere (i.e. NAACP Chapter, Indivisible Group, Citizen Climate Lobby, WI Farmers Union, County County Officials, public leaders, a civic club, a clergy group, Native Vote) and ask them to submit Public Comments                  

Themes to consider writing: 

1) By state constitution, electoral districts must “be bounded by county, precinct, town, or ward lines, to consist of contiguous territory and be in as compact form as practicable.”  and how being packed or split apart lessens your voice.

2) Write how you personally were left out of the 2011 secret redistricting process and you want real input this time.

3) Tell the Court not to rush through this very important part of democracy. 

4) As Justices, we expect you will not take partisan sides.

5) Keep your independence and transparency as a third branch of government.