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Marquette law professor, GOP redistricting maps would pass legal challenge

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The rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, WI
The rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, WI

MARQUETTE, Wis. (WTAQ) - A Marquette law professor told Wisconsin legislators Wednesday that the GOP’s proposed new congressional and legislative districts would withstand any legal challenge.

Richard Esenberg was asked by an attorney who helped draw the maps to give his opinions – and he did so at a public hearing held by Senate and Assembly Committees.

Esenberg said, “Challenges based on partisan gerrymandering are simply not going to work.”

He also said courts generally give lawmakers a lot of discretion in drafting new district lines according to population changes in each census.

But former US House Democrat David Obey of Wausau told the panel that legislators should do what’s right – and not just try to win a legal fight. Obey said the congressional district boundaries would create “safe districts” for House incumbents of both parties – and it would increase partisanship.

Obey asked, “Is that what we need right now?”

Other Democrats called the GOP’s new district lines unconstitutional. They’ll be up for a vote in the Legislature next Tuesday.

Unlike the recent past, the minority party does not have the votes to stop them in either house.

Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller said his party has not decided how to challenge them.

Judy Robson of Beloit, who used to hold Miller’s position, joined 13 others in filing a federal lawsuit, asking the courts to re-draw the boundaries like they have for the last three decades.

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