The GOP redistricting strategy has one goal, and it is not to accurately represent shifts in voting populations since the last census. It is a power grab, plain and simple. Any objective analysis of the entities involved, outlined districts, and rushed timetable confirm that accusation. The greatest impact the GOP desire to retain power will have, however, will be to plunge Wisconsin into a Constitutional Crisis that will last for decades – if they are successful. The acts of the Legislature this session, Governor Walker’s power consolidation, and the judicial bias in the Supreme Court; combined with the privatized and unconstitutional redistricting process have left the State’s Charter document in shreds. The people’s right to democratic representation has been abridged, with redistricting being the final straw. As with all things in Fitzwalkerstan recently, it’s all about money and power – not Democracy.
Money and Lawyers – The Wisconsin Constitution gives the Legislature the responsibility of redistricting post-census. The Walker-Fitzgerald triumvirate hired Michael, Best, and Friedrich, and their attorney Jim Troupis in continued privatization of State legal services. Enough said. Troupis, et al., have a grand history with the GOP. Besides serving as redistricting attorney for Scott Jensen in 2002, Troupis has contributed heavily to Jensen’s legal defense fund. He has been helping Mike Gableman in his legal defense in an ethics investigation by the Office of Lawyer Regulation - an investigation for which Gableman could be disbarred. In the past 10 years, Troupis alone has donated nearly $20,000 to GOP candidates. Michael, Best, and Friedrich - in the hundreds of thousands to the GOP. As attorneys, they checked their ethics at the door in exchange for money and power. They are assisting willingly with supplanting the right to free and fair elections, and are receiving a healthy paycheck at taxpayer expense. The very same taxpayers they are shutting out of the Democratic Process.
Infringement upon Municipalities’ role in redistricting – Under Wisconsin law, local governments are required to draw new wards prior to statewide districts being drawn. The Legislature is required to abide by local ward requirements, and include municipal level wards in the Assembly and Senate Districts. In 2010, there were conferences for municipalities and government agencies to outline redistricting procedures in Wisconsin. Also in 2010, the Legislative Reference Bureau released a “Timetable for Redistricting”. The adopted timetable clearly shows Municipal wards being completed in June, 2011. Many are still not complete – the Legislature does not have the full information it needs to draw fair and accurate districts. The Timetable schedules the Legislature beginning work in November, 2011; completing work in January 2012. This Fitzgerald-controlled Legislature is so desperate to retain power, it is ignoring the accepted timetable, and infringing upon the Municipalities right to draw their local districts. In addition, the new redistricting law will pre-empt municipalities right do adopt wards in the future – giving the state the right to impose boundaries upon local jurisdictions. The new statute also forces municipalities to create local wards six months earlier than in previous sessions,with the state having the power to alter those local ward boundaries. The process is being created artificially, illegally, and unethically to serve the GOP desire for power preservation in the face of recall elections. The new law has another draconian effect, straight out of the ALEC playbook.
Legislating out Federal Intervention- In a statutory change in the new redistricting law, GOP legislators are taking a play right out of ALEC - state’s rights, or state sovereignty. The bill claims redistricting as a state right – not to be infringed upon by the Federal Government. ALEC has long presented “model legislation” and “model resolution” language based upon this argument (it is the basis for their assault on Obamacare). In this case, such language would prevent a Federal Court from intervening in the redistricting process – this has happened in recent history when Legislative bodies fail to reach agreement on future boundaries. Instead, the State Supreme Court would nominate a three judge panel, selected from Circuit Court Judges. Those “non-partisan” (if you believe that) judges would have the final say on new districts statewide. With this one law, GOP Legislators aim to take local involvement out of redistricting, and Federal oversight away – the ultimate power grab. The majority party no longer has a balance of power or check against its total control of the system.
Scott Walker has been given complete control of the Legislative process with Act 21. Corporate “Robber Barons” and law firms control state taxation policy and legislation. The Supreme Court is stacked with conservative ideologues who rule for partisan gain. The final nail in our Constitutional coffin is the disenfranchising of thousands of voters statewide – through voter ID (read “suppression”) and the illegal and immoral redistricting about to take place. Our elegant Founding Document is about to be found shredded at the feet of every legislator who has voted with Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald, and Jeff Fitzgerald. They have had a choice. They chose this path. If you haven’t been angry yet, you should be now. Spread the word, mobilize, communicate – the people must prevail in this struggle. It will be our time again soon, and we will show them the door – and what Democracy looks like.