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Wisconsin Redistricting Plan Goes To Court


In Wisconsin, the battle right now is not in campaign stops but in federal court. This is the state, you'll recall, that's already seen fierce fights over a change in collective bargaining rules for unions passed by lawmakers last year. The court battle focuses on a redistricting plan approved by that same state legislature. Here's Wisconsin Public Radio's Shawn Johnson.

SHAWN JOHNSON, BYLINE: There are clearly issues with how the redistricting here was carried out when one of the judges on the court case challenging the new boundaries describes their drafting as, quote, "an all but shameful attempt to hide the redistricting process from public scrutiny." Wisconsin's new political districts were drawn up by the Republican-controlled legislature last year. Democrats say, among other things, minority populations were deliberately split among districts to benefit Republican candidates. Yesterday, judges hinted the legislature should attempt the redistricting once more. Attorney Daniel Kelly is part of the state's defense team.

DANIEL KELLY: Well, it was unusual. We expected to start trial this morning.

JOHNSON: Kelly says it is reassuring the judges believe redistricting should be done by the legislature and not the court. Democrats Judy Robson, a plaintiff in the case, sees it differently.

STATE SENATOR JUDY ROBSON: Yeah, I think it's a big victory already because he's asking the legislature to redo it.

JOHNSON: But Republicans are declining the offer of a do-over, so it's back to court today, though arguments could be delayed still for another month. For NPR News, I'm Shawn Johnson in Madison. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Shawn Johnson covers the State Capitol for Wisconsin Public Radio. Shawn joined the network in 2004. Prior to that he worked for WUIS-FM, a public radio station in Springfield, Illinois. There, Shawn reported on the Illinois legislature. He also managed the station's western Illinois bureau, where he produced features on issues facing rural residents. He previously worked as an Assistant Producer for WBBM-AM radio in Chicago.