Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson

MADISON -- Republican lawmakers have recently begun voicing strong opposition to a Wisconsin Supreme Court proposal on state re-districting released almost three months ago. The Supreme Court's proposal, under consideration since early 2003 at the request of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, was published on the SC's website Sept. 25. The plan was prepared in the event that a legislative impasses impels the courts to re-district in the next round due in 2011-2012. But Republican Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch said the top bench was pushing its authority in drafting such a redistricting plan. He told the Wisconsin State Journal the move would also likely provoke more publicly-funded legal battles. Under state constitution the Wisconsin legislature has authority to set political district boundaries, which must be re-drawn following each 10-year census to reflect population changes. Re-districting is an especially tense issue in closely divided states like Wisconsin. Wisconsin's Supreme Court is believed to have circulated its own plan in advance because any re-districting outcome is likely to face a court challenge, as each has since 1931. State Republicans are suspicious and often accuse the SC of a liberal bias. "In drawing the districts, the Court needs to avoid being involved prematurely and foreclosing legislative action," the Supreme Court proposal noted. "At the same time, the Court needs sufficient lead time prior to the next election to allow input of involved parties and to draw the districts."

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