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State Supreme Court adopts redistricting back-up plan

The State Supreme Court has decided not to adopt a back-up plan for re-drawing Wisconsin's Assembly and Senate districts.

In September, a judicial committee said the court should appoint a group of appeals judges to draw up new boundaries if the Legislature fails to do the job itself.

But Thursday, the justices voted 4-3 to scrap the idea and to consider legal challenges only after somebody files them.

The Supreme Court first considered the back-up plan in 2007.

But Republicans cried foul, and accused the justices of a power grab.

Justice David Prosser, a former GOP Assembly speaker, agreed. He also said the plan might create a perception that the Supreme Court is partisan.

It's the Legislature's job to draw up new district boundaries every 10 years based on the results of each Census. But the party in control always tries to skew the lines to their advantage.

Since the 1920s, a federal or state court has had to step in to draw the final lines.

In recent years, Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, has run virtually a one-man crusade to have an independent panel draw the legislative boundaries. His colleagues have never taken up the idea.