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Judges Sustain Legal Challenge to State Redistricting

A three-judge panel refuses to throw out a federal lawsuit arguing new congressional and legislative district maps are unconstitutional.

A legal challenge against new is still alive, as a three-judge panel denied a motion to dismiss the suit Friday.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the judges to dismiss the federal lawsuit, filed by a group of citizens and former Democratic lawmakers in June, but the panel refused to dismiss the suit Friday citing a federal court's findings that Wisconsin improperly drew maps in 1983, postponing 173,976 voters' ability to cast a ballot, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

While the new boundries go into effect in 2012, they won't be used in elections until next fall.

The group seeking suit says the new maps are unconstitutional because 300,000 people wouldn't be able to vote in state Senate races next year as they now live in a different district.

The Republican-controlled legislature created new district lines this summer. Democrats say the new boundaries are unfair and have accused Republicans of gerrymandering.

Shorewood’s political landscape changes dramatically under the new maps, shifting the village from the 8th Senate district under Sen. Albert Darling (R-River Hills) to the 4th Senate District controlled by Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee).

Without liberal-leaning Shorewood, the 8th Senate District would see a more suburban, more conservative constituency, stretching north into Grafton and as far west as the town of Erin in Washington County.

The bill would also move Shorewood out of the 22nd Assembly District under Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay and into the 10th district under Democratic freshman Rep. Elizabeth Coggs from Milwaukee. Shorewood resident and Darling recall effort leader .

In addition, Shorewood would no longer fall under Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's 5th but rather into the 4th Congressional District under Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore.

Legislators are constitutionally required to redistrict every 10 years based on new census population figures and demographic changes. The maps go into effect in 2012.

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