MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers asked a federal court on Monday to allow him to intervene in a lawsuit filed by fellow Democrats that seeks to have federal courts draw new boundary lines if the governor and Republican-controlled Legislature can't reach agreement.
The court already allowed the Legislature to intervene. Republicans want to keep the legal battle over the once-a-decade job of redrawing political lines in the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court, rather than federal court. Conservatives have filed their own lawsuit with the state Supreme Court, which has yet to say whether it will take the case or require it to work through lower courts first.
"Just as the Court concluded as to the Legislature, this litigation should not proceed without input from the Governor," Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul argued in the motion he filed on behalf of Evers.
State law gives the Legislature the responsibility of drawing new congressional and legislative boundary lines. But Evers must sign those maps into law, leading to the filing of three lawsuits so far seeking to have both state and federal courts set a process for drawing maps in the case of a stalemate.
Kaul said the governor intends to submit a map for the court to consider that is drawn by an independent commission he created. The commission will also be submitting maps to the Legislature.
"The Governor intends to focus his participation on the merits of the remedial map this Court would enter, thereby providing the Court with a useful, nonpartisan map to consider," Kaul wrote.
Republicans who control the Legislature have also asked the public to submit proposed new maps for it to consider. The Legislature is expected to vote on new maps this fall and the legal battles are not expected to be resolved until the spring.
Republicans drew maps in 2011, which were signed into law quickly by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Those maps helped solidify GOP control of the Legislature. Democrats have argued since then that they must not be used as the basis for creating new maps this year following the 2020 census.