A panel of federal judges sided with an immigrants’ rights group and a group of Democratic voters in revising two Milwaukee Assembly districts, rejecting a plan proposed by Republicans.
Immigrants’ rights group Voces de la Frontera and a group of Democratic voters brought the case against the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which was represented by the Department of Justice, alleging the maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature violated the Voting Rights Act.
“We’re disappointed one of our maps wasn’t chosen but not surprised,” Dana Brueck, DOJ spokesperson, said in an email to The Badger Herald. “We expect to reach a final decision on whether to appeal by the end of this week or early next week, but we’re leaning toward an appeal.”
Doug Poland, an attorney who represented the Democratic voters in the case, said an appeal would go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court, which would have to agree to take it up. He said the success of an appeal would be a long shot based on the evidence and the soundness of the ruling.
Both Democrats and Republicans claimed the case favored them. Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a statement that the court upheld the constitutionality of nearly all the Assembly districts in Wisconsin.
“Once again, the court has reaffirmed that the Legislature correctly apportioned 130 out of 132 Legislative districts as well as all 8 Congressional districts… All districts in Wisconsin are constitutional,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.
Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said he was pleased with the ruling. He said he did not see much chance of an appeal since candidates who want to run in the districts can begin circulating nomination petitions on Saturday and want to get started. He added there is no real basis for appeals.
Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, who represents one of the districts, said she applauded the decision. She said her district has the largest Latino population in the state and that the decision is a victory for her community.
“I would hope the issue is resolved now so we can move on to clear and transparent elections and clear and transparent government in Wisconsin,” Zamarripa said.