Judges dismiss Wisconsin redistricting challenge

CREATED Jul 28, 2011

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MADISON- A panel of federal judges in Milwaukee refused Thursday to wade into Wisconsin's political redistricting fight, rejecting a request to take over the process from lawmakers.

The court fight over the state's legislative district boundaries is far from over, though. Another federal lawsuit alleging the Legislature's maps are unconstitutional is still pending.

The Wisconsin Constitution requires state lawmakers to redraw district boundaries to reflect population shifts after each 10-year census.

Federal judges, though, have redrawn the lines three times in the past 30 years after politically divided legislatures couldn't agree on new boundaries.

This year, though, Republicans control the Senate, Assembly and governor's office, putting them in position to draw districts that would help cement their majority for the next decade.

Former state Senate Democratic Majority Leader Judy Robson of Beloit filed a request in early June to reopen a 2001 federal case that spurred the three-judge panel to draw the lines following the 2000 census.

She asked the judges to step in again if the Legislature didn't approve new boundaries in a timely fashion and ensure voters are represented equally in the 2012 elections.