The three-judge panel overseeing two federal redistricting suits is signaling it may consolidate them into one action.

The court on Friday set a Sept. 7 deadline for the parties involved in the two cases to show why they shouldn’t be consolidated, noting the plaintiffs in both “appear to be raising essentially the same claims.” 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Diane Sykes has appointed the same panel to oversee both cases, noting the overlap between the two.

One lawsuit was filed by a half-dozen Dem voters, while the other by Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de la Frontera and the Wisconsin League of Women Voters.

A third lawsuit has been filed with the state Supreme Court. All seek to have the courts set a deadline for the Legislature and guv to reach a deal on a new map and then step in if they fail to strike an agreement.

The plaintiffs in the suit filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court also want to intervene in the federal case filed by the Dem voters. And they want the court to consider their request to stay the proceedings until after the Legislature and guv have a chance to draw a map and any action before the state Supreme Court is completed.

The three-judge panel has set several deadlines:

*the panel has granted the Legislature’s motion to intervene in the suit filed by a half-dozen Dems. It also set a Sept. 13 deadline to respond to the Legislature’s motion to dismiss the case. The Legislature will have until Sept. 20 to file a response.

*the panel set a Sept. 7 deadline to respond to the motion to intervene that was filed by the plaintiffs involved in the Wisconsin Supreme Court case. The proposed intervenors, who include conservative activist Eric O’Keefe, have until Sept. 10 to file a reply.

*the parties have until Sept. 13 to submit a proposed schedule for the two redistricting cases.

*the GOP-controlled Legislature has also filed a motion to intervene in the second federal suit. Briefing on that request has been stayed until there is a decision on whether to consolidate the cases.

See the proposed motion to stay the first redistricting suit here.

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