-By Patrick Marley
December 2, 2011- Madison – A group of Republicans asked to withdraw one of its two lawsuits over recalls on Friday, two days after the state Supreme Court asked detailed questions about of its efforts.
The group of Republican citizens asked the high court last month to appoint a panel of three circuit court judges to hear its arguments that any recalls of state lawmakers be held in newly drawn districts that favor their party. If the court declined to form the panel, they asked for the high court to take the case itself.
In orders issued Wednesday and Thursday, the court ordered the Republican group, as well as Democratic ones, to file memorandums on the case by Tuesday. They asked pointed questions, including whether it should defer the case because of a six-month-old federal case over the new election maps filed by one of the Democratic groups.
On Friday, the Republican group's attorney, Eric McLeod, filed a one-sentence voluntary withdrawal of its petition with the high court.
The group filed its case with the Supreme Court on Nov. 21, but a week later it filed an almost identical suit in Waukesha County.
The group contends that under a new state law, the Waukesha County Circuit Court must alert the Supreme Court to the filing, and the high court in turn must appoint a panel of circuit judges from three different counties.
In its orders this week, the Supreme Court asked questions about that law and how the two cases by the Republicans affected each other.
The GOP group's filing also came after it became clear this week that Justice David Prosser was not participating in the case. That leaves six justices to hear the case, raising the possibility of a 3-3 split.
The divided court has often split over the most contentious issues, with Prosser, a former Republican lawmaker, part of a 4-3 majority.
McLeod did not immediately return a call Friday to explain why the group was asking to drop the case before the Supreme Court. No attempt has been made to withdraw the Waukesha County case, according to online court records.