OSU Navigation Bar

Election Law @ Moritz Home Page

Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz



One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen

Case Information

Date Filed: May 29, 2015
State: Wisconsin
Issues: Voter ID, Early Voting, Student Voting
Current Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Case 16-3091, 16-3083)


Whether several Wisconsin statutes (Act 23, Act 240, Act 76, Act 177, Act 75, Act 227, Wis. Stat. §§ 6.855-.86, Wis. Stat. § 5.02, Wis. Stat. § 6.34, Wis. Stat. § 6.79, and Wis. Stat. § 6.97) are in violation of: Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment, the Fifteenth Amendment, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Counts are as follows.

Count I: Violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act

Count II: Undue Burdens on the Right to Vote in Violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

Count III: Disparate Treatment of Voters without a Rational Basis in Violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

Count IV: Partisan Fencing in Violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

Count V: Abridgment or Denial of the Right to Vote on the Basis of Race in Violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment

Count VI: Abridgment or Denial of the Right to Vote on the Basis of Age in Violation of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment


Complaint filed on 5/29/15. Amended complaint filed 6/22/16. Answer filed 7/22/15. Motion to Dismiss filed 7/22/15. Opinion and Order on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss filed 12/17/15. Motion for summary judgment filed by defendants 1/11/16. Second amended complaint filed 3/25/16. Trial beginning May 16. District Court's Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law filed 7/29/16. Motion to Stay filed 8/3/16. Notice of Appeal filed 8/3/16. Petition for Initial En Banc Review filed 8/3/16. Motion to Expedite filed 8/3/16. District Court Order denying stay in substantial part filed 8/11/16. Emergency Motion to Stay filed in Seventh Circuit 8/12/16. 7th Circuit Order Denying Initial En Banc Hearing filed 8/26/16. Appellants' Brief and Appendix filed 9/12/16. Status Report on Efforts to Inform Public filed 9/22/16. District Court Opinion and Order Granting Plaintiffs' Remedy in Part 10/13/16. Appellees' Brief in Seventh Circuit filed 10/21/16. Final Appendix filed 12/7/16. Oral Argument scheduled for 1/17/17. Oral Argument rescheduled for 2/24/17.


District Court Documents

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals documents


Edward B. Foley

The Electoral Fix We Really Need

Edward B. Foley

The Electoral College winner should be the majority choice in each state that counts towards that Electoral College victory.

more commentary...

In the News

Edward B. Foley

Gerrymandering Is Headed Back to the Supreme Court

Professor Edward Foley was requoted in Mother Jones about a gerrymandering case in Wisconsin on its way to the Supreme Court. Other legal actions on partisan gerrymandering in Maryland and in North Carolina may be bound for the Supreme Court as well.

While previous Supreme Court cases have noted that partisan gerrymanders are “incompatible with democratic principles,” The New York Times originally reported, the court has never officially struck a case down. While it remains unseen how the Supreme Court will rule in the upcoming cases, a 2004 ruling from a previous gerrymandering case could play a pivotal role in how the court stands in the future. 

“The ordered working of our Republic, and of the democratic process, depends on a sense of decorum and restraint in all branches of government, and in the citizenry itself,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in 2004. Kennedy’s statement is “the most important line” in the decision, Foley told The New York Times, adding,  “He’s going to look at what’s going on in North Carolina as the complete absence of that. I think that helps the plaintiffs in any of these cases.”


more EL@M in the news...

Info & Analysis

Three-Judge Panel Finds Voting Rights Act and Constitutional Violations in Creation of Texas House of Representatives Districts

A little over a month after ruling that Texas\' Congressional redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Consistution, a three-judge panel similarly ruled (2-1) with regard to the creation of Texas\' state-level House of Representatives districts. The court issued a 171-page order in which it ruled for the state on some claims. The court also made separate findings of fact. The case is Perez v. Abbott.

more info & analysis...