One day after the state Supreme Court agreed to hear their redistricting lawsuit, GOP voters asked a federal court to stay proceedings in two lawsuits asking a three-judge panel to draw Wisconsin’s political lines if Capitol leaders fail to reach a deal.
The voters, who include conservative activist Eric O’Keefe, had previously tried to get the federal court to stay proceedings while the state Supreme Court was considering their request to take the lawsuit. But the three-judge panel shot it down, noting that there was “yet no indication that the state courts will entertain redistricting in the face of an impasse between the legislature and the governor.”
The GOP voters Thursday notified the federal court the state justices have agreed to take original action in their suit and ordered briefs related to issues in that suit. They argued the “facts have now materially changed” since their first motion to stay was denied. They also argued the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that federal courts should stay out of redistricting cases while state judicial proceedings are pending.
“The prospect of overlapping, and perhaps conflicting, federal-state discovery, expert, and trial schedules, rules, and orders is simply untenable,” the motion argued. “Indeed, the mere need of the parties to double all litigation efforts will necessarily ‘impede’ state proceedings.”
The three-judge panel set an Oct. 1 deadline for the parties in the federal cases to respond to the motion to stay. It also pushed back to Oct. 1 the deadline for the parties to submit a proposed case schedule in the federal suits.
Like the case before the state Supreme Court, the federal suits argue it is unlikely GOP lawmakers and Dem Gov. Tony Evers will reach a deal on a map. Represented by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the GOP voters asked the federal courts to step in and draw new lines if that occurs.
Meanwhile, the attorney for GOP lawmakers filed a notice with the court today that the case should be dismissed now that, “Every branch of the Wisconsin government is now addressing reapportionment.”
See the motion to stay: