Wisconsin Public Radio: As Election Day Nears, No Ruling Yet In Wisconsin Redistricting Case


"You just never know when it's going to come," said attorney Gerry Hebert, one of several lawyers who represented a group of Democratic plaintiffs seeking to overturn Wisconsin's map. "I have great confidence in this court's reading of the issues."

While the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule in favor of a partisan gerrymandering lawsuit, justices have shown a willingness to consider such a case if someone can develop a reliable way to measure partisanship. Wisconsin's lawsuit seeks to do just that.

Attorney Hebert, who is the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center, said his group believes so strongly in the foundation of Wisconsin's case that it's now using the efficiency gap to challenge a Republican-drawn congressional map in North Carolina.

"We used the efficiency gap because we think it's the best test," Hebert said.

The center's Ruth Greenwood, who also represented Wisconsin Democrats in their lawsuit, said the North Carolina lawsuit bolsters their case.

"This adds to our argument that this is a manageable standard that the Supreme Court can set to be used across the country," Greenwood said.

The three-judge panel considering Wisconsin's case includes Judge Kenneth Ripple of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as District Court Judges Barbara Crabb and William Griesbach. Ripple was nominated by President Ronald Reagan, Crabb was nominated by President Jimmy Carter, and Griesbach was nominated by President George W. Bush, meaning two of the court's three members were picked by Republican presidents.

Neither Hebert nor the Wisconsin Department of Justice said they read anything into the court's delay in deciding Wisconsin's redistricting case, though Hebert conceded courts are often reluctant to make major changes to election laws as Election Day draws near.

"We're very, very close to the election right now," Hebert said.

Hebert said he expects a decision from the court in the next couple of months at the latest. He said he gets dozens of emails every day from the federal court system because of his involvement in cases around the country.

"I always look to see first whether it's Wisconsin or not," Heber said. "So I am anxious about it."

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