Court dismisses charge in federal redistricting lawsuit

A three-judge panel on Friday dismissed a claim by Michigan Republicans challenging congressional districts drawn by the state’s redistricting commission that alleged the new map arbitrarily and inconsistently divides counties and municipalities.

The justices have yet to weigh in on Republicans’ claim that the inaugural citizen-led redistricting commission drew districts with unacceptable population differences.

Republicans suing redistricting commissioners and Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson want judges to suspend the commission’s use of the Congressional Map in the 2022 election and force commissioners to redraw districts.

Republicans who sued the commissioners alleged that the new congressional districts divide up counties and municipalities in a way that inconsistently applies the redistricting requirement to draw districts that reflect “communities of interest” — such as “people who share cultural or historical characteristics or economic interests” – described in the Michigan Constitution.

“This is just a political claim of gerrymandering by any other name,” reads the notice granting motions to dismiss the claim filed by the redistricting commission and supporters of the new redistricting process.

“Just as the Constitution allows states to draw lines for congressional districts based on partisan interests, it also allows them to ‘fragment’ voters’ ‘communities of interest’,” the panel’s unanimous opinion continues. of three judges drafted by the American court. appeals for 6th Circuit Judge Raymond Kethledge.

“And the very premise of the plaintiffs’ assertion – that the cohesiveness of communities of interest within constituencies affects the relative strength of a citizen’s vote – means that they are political communities of interest, including voters who tend to vote in similar communities is not the business of the courts.”

Continued:Michigan Republicans challenge Congress‘ redistricting commission map in federal court

Continued:Debate over Michigan’s new redistricting criteria at heart of GOP challenge to US House map

Commissioner Anthony Eid shares his opinion that the drawn maps were

Republicans who have sued the commission include State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain; GOP operatives who work for the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund; former State Representative Joseph Graves, R-Linden; and GOP party officials. Republicans argued that the commission should have classified counties and municipalities as communities of interest and aimed to keep them intact within district boundaries.

Lawyers for the redistricting commission argued that any claims related to the commission’s decision to divide local jurisdictions belong in state court — not federal court. And they claimed that Republicans suing the commission were confusing the communities of interest criteria — which ranks third on the list of seven mapping criteria the commission must follow — with the requirement to draw districts that reflect communities. county and municipal boundaries, which ranks second to last on the list of mapping criteria.

Voters Not Politicians, the group that drafted the constitutional amendment adopted by Michigan voters establishing the redistricting criteria, agreed with the commission.

The organization – which intervened in the lawsuit – argued that those challenging the Congressional map were trying to redefine communities of interest to designate counties and municipalities.

The redistricting commission adopted the new congressional district map in late December. Eight of thirteen commissioners voted for the map, including two Democrats, four independents and two Republicans.

The map appears poised to significantly reduce the Republican advantage baked into current districts, according to the partisan equity measures used by the commission.

The court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for March 16. The deadline for candidates to file documents to stand for election is April 19.

Clara Hendrickson audits Michigan issues and politics as a body member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Make a tax-deductible contribution to support his work at Reach her at [email protected] or 313-296-5743. Follow her on Twitter @clarajanehen.

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