A panel of federal judges on Friday ordered the Wisconsin Legislature to redraw legislative boundaries by November, rejecting calls from those challenging the maps to have the judges do the work.
The ruling clears the way for the state to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an earlier decision declaring the current maps unconstitutional, but the judges rejected Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel’s request to delay any work until after the Supreme Court decides whether to hear an appeal.
Schimel’s spokesman, Johnny Koremenos, promised the decision would be swiftly appealed to the Supreme Court. Democrats hailed the ruling and called for public hearings on new maps, but Republicans still control the drawing of district boundaries.
“I hope that legislative Republicans are more competent with their second chance,” said Democratic state Sen. Mark Miller, of Monona.
A dozen voters sued in 2015 over the Republican-drawn maps, alleging they unconstitutionally consolidated GOP power and discriminated against Democrats. The three-judge panel agreed in a 2-1 ruling in November, but didn’t order any immediate action.
In its Friday ruling, the judges ordered the Legislature to redraw the maps by November so they could be in place for the 2018 elections. They forbid the current legislative boundaries from being in effect for any future election. They also declined to do the work themselves, as the Democrats who filed the lawsuit wanted.
Some lawmakers are taking aim at a recent Washington Supreme Court decision that put the onus on counties to determine whether water is legally available in certain rural areas before they issue building permits.
One bill sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, amends parts of the state law at the heart of the ruling, known as the Hirst decision. County officials, builders, business and farm groups are among supporting the measure, while environmental groups and tribes oppose it.
A competing bill sponsored by Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, supports the court decision and sets up a program to help counties find ways to meet the requirements.
In October, the high court ruled that Whatcom County failed to protect water resources by allowing new wells to reduce flow in streams for fish and other uses. The court said counties must ensure, independently of the state, that water is physically and legally available before they issue building permits in certain areas.
In the wake of the ruling, some counties have temporarily halted certain rural development, while others changed criteria for obtaining a building permit.
At issue is a struggle to balance competing needs of people and wildlife for limited water, a challenge that has played out across the state for years.
A survivor of a Philippine police raid that killed four other drug suspects asked the Supreme Court Thursday to stop such operations and help him obtain police records to prove his innocence in a test case against the president's bloody crackdown.
Lawyer Romel Bagares said his client Efren Morillo and other petitioners also asked the court to order police to stop threatening witnesses.
More than 7,000 drug suspects have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June and ordered the crackdown, alarming human rights group and Western governments.
Four policemen shot Morillo and four other men in impoverished Payatas village in metropolitan Manila in August. Morillo survived and denied police allegations that he and his friends were drug dealers or that they fought back, according to Bagares and the court petition.
Morillo, a 28-year-old vegetable vendor and the four slain men, were garbage collectors who were shot with their hands bound and could not have possibly threatened police, the petition said.
Texas prison officials temporarily delayed the scheduled Thursday night execution of a man convicted of a fatal robbery at a Dallas-area sandwich shop while the U.S. Supreme Court considered multiple appeals to keep him from lethal injection.
Terry Edwards remained in a small cell near the Texas death chamber. A Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman, Jason Clark, described him as apprehensive.
The court order setting his punishment gave prison officials a six-hour window to carry out the execution. The order expires at midnight and Texas would not move forward with the punishment if the appeals were not resolved by then.
Evidence showed Edwards worked at the restaurant but was fired a few weeks earlier for stealing from the cash register. An employee and the store manager were killed in the $3,000 holdup in Balch Springs, about 15 miles southeast of downtown Dallas.
Edwards, 43, would be the second prisoner executed this year in Texas, the third nationally.
The driver accused in the fatal hit-and-run of a Cleveland patrolman on an interstate is set to appear in court.
Forty-four-year-old Israel Alvarez, of Lorain, was scheduled for arraignment Thursday morning on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and failing to stop after a fatal accident. Court records don't indicate whether he has an attorney.
Police say 39-year-old Patrolman David Fahey was struck Tuesday while setting down flares to close lanes of Interstate 90 after an accident.
Authorities allege Alvarez was driving over 60 mph and disregarded emergency vehicles that were parked along the road with their lights flashing. He was arrested in Lorain later Tuesday.
A viewing for Fahey is scheduled Friday at a North Olmsted funeral home. A funeral Mass is planned Saturday at a Cleveland church.
Greece's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an extradition request for eight Turkish servicemen who fled their country by helicopter after a coup attempt.
Presiding judge Giorgos Sakkas, reading out the decision, said the servicemen were unlikely to face a fair trial if returned to Turkey.
The eight officers fought extradition in a six-month legal battle, arguing that they face mistreatment in prison if returned.
Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis earlier this week had said he would respect the court decision and not make use of executive powers in the extradition case.
Lower courts issued mixed decisions on the return of the officers in a series of separate hearings.
The extradition case has further complicated ties between neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey, which remain at odds over war-divided Cyprus and boundaries in the Aegean Sea.
Hours ahead of Thursday's decision, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu said he expected the servicemen to be returned.
"Our greatest expectation is for the coup plotters to be delivered to the Turkish judicial (authorities). We shall be following the results of this case," he said. "These coup plotters should not go unpunished."