redistricting

Updated on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET

Keith Gaddie has "hung up his spurs."

The election expert from the University of Oklahoma no longer helps state legislatures draw new district lines to maximize their partisan advantage.

He was still wearing those spurs in 2011 when he provided data that helped Wisconsin Republicans enact a legislative redistricting plan aimed at maximizing their power for the foreseeable future.

But now he has reversed course and filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the practice is undemocratic.

angela n. / Flickr

The Supreme Court of the United States will soon hear oral arguments on Gill v. Whitford, also known as the Wisconsin gerrymandering case.

There is a lot of uncertainty as to how the court will rule, with most of the conservative and liberal justices coming down on opposite sides of the issue. As is often the case, Justice Kennedy will likely be the deciding vote.

ZACH GIBSON/GETTY IMAGES

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme is expected to take up a Wisconsin case that could have national implications.

Justices will hear arguments on the controversial political maps that Republican lawmakers drafted in 2011, after the most recent census. Democrats and liberal groups say the maps are unconstitutional, because the new boundaries give the GOP a big advantage in elections.

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The political maps the state's Republican lawmakers drew in 2011 are headed to the nation's highest court. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will consider Wisconsin's redistricting lawsuit.

At the heart of the legal challenge is whether the new Assembly boundaries that Republicans shaped create districts that are too partisan. Democrats accuse republicans of gerrymandering -- drawing the lines in such a manner that makes it nearly impossible for Democrats to win.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal over electoral districts in Wisconsin after a lower court ruled that the state's Republican-drawn map constitutes an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander."

It's the first time in more than a decade that the nation's highest court will take up the issue of partisan gerrymandering, or drawing voting districts with the aim of strengthening one political party.

ZACH GIBSON/GETTY IMAGES

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to consider the issue of partisan redistricting that has arisen in Wisconsin. Republican legislators redrew the state's political boundaries in 2011, in a manner that Democrats argue put Democratic voters at a disadvantage. GOP lawmakers defend the maps, as does state Attorney General Brad Schimel. Oral arguments are expected to take place after the high court convenes in October.

National Atlas of the United States / Department of Interior

Politically, Wisconsin has long been considered a “purple state.” Not Democratic or Republican; a swing state. But all that changed after the 2010 election, when Wisconsin voted a Republican majority into the state assembly. What happened next changed the course of state politics and undermined the very concept of democracy through what was considered a relatively benign practice - gerrymandering.

Wisconsin State Legislature

A three-judge federal panel on Friday told the Legislature to redraw Wisconsin's legislative boundaries and to complete the job by November. Opponents of the existing maps wanted judges to redraw them but are pleased that the federal panel is demanding change and yet this year.

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Wisconsin is one of several states embroiled in a court battle over redistricting. Each state's case is different, yet commonalities are emerging over how much gerrymandering is allowed.

Gerrymandering means drawing political districts to gain an advantage.

For more than a quarter century, two legislative districts in North Carolina have been ground zero in a fight over race and redistricting. In the course of that time, Republicans have taken control of the state Legislature, and the two political parties have reversed their legal positions regarding the use of race and drawing district lines.

Wisconsin State Legislature

A three-judge federal panel ruled on Monday that the political boundaries state Republican legislators drew in 2011 violate the voting rights of Democrats. Wisconsin's Attorney  General says he plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wisconsin state Legislature

A federal trial begins Tuesday in Madison over the way state Republicans redrew Wisconsin’s political boundaries in 2011. 

A dozen Wisconsin residents who vote for Democrats are suing the state. They argue the boundaries are unconstitutional because they heavily favor Republicans.

Wisconsin State Legislature

A three-judge federal panel on Thursday refused to end a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's redistricting of state legislative boundaries. So the case, which could ripple nationally, will go to trial from May 24-27 in federal court in Madison.

State Republicans drew the boundaries in 2011, insisting it was the GOP's right and duty after winning control of state government. Democrat litigants insist Republicans unconstitutionally gerrymandered the lines to benefit the GOP.

WISCONSIN STATE LEGISLATURE

For an update on this story, check out this April 2016 post: Federal Judges Ruling Moves Wisconsin Redistricting Lawsuit Forward

Original story from December 18, 2015:

Justin Kern

Redistricting has become a hot topic across the country. Two Wisconsin legislators will talk about the issue Monday at the state Capitol.