(The Center Square) – The legal fight over Wisconsin’s next political map is escalating, and lawmakers haven’t even begun to draw them yet.
A judge in Madison on Thursday canceled the contracts between Republican lawmakers and private lawyers they hired to help draw the maps.
Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke ruled lawmakers overstepped when they signed a deal worth nearly $1 million to attorney Adam Mortara and Consovoy McCarthy.
"Under the plain terms of the statute the defendants did not have authority to enter into the two contracts at issue in this case," Ehlke wrote.
The top Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly, Speaker Robin Vos, R-Juneau, said he is not surprised by the decision.
"It’s certainly no surprise that a Dane County judge gave liberal activists a favorable ruling in this case. We will appeal the decision and move forward," Vos said in a statement.
Vos said he will appeal the ruling.
Democrats at the Capitol are claiming the ruling is a victory for voters.
“We haven’t even begun the redistricting process in Wisconsin, and Republicans are already lawyering up to protect their gerrymandered, unfair maps,” Sen. Melisa Agarad, D-Madison, said Monday.
Wisconsin lawmakers are supposed to draw new political maps after each Census, those Census numbers were just released.
Wisconsin’s political map following the 2010 Census ended up in a court battle as well. A three-judge federal panel eventually ruled that lawmakers redraw two legislative districts.
Many at the Capitol expect the new maps from the 2020 Census to follow a similar path.