Michigan Republicans sue to block implementation of nonpartisan redistricting commission
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Michigan Republicans sue to block implementation of nonpartisan redistricting commission

A group of Republican redistricting organizations sued the Michigan Secretary of State Tuesday to block the implementation of a new nonpartisan commission to redraw voting districts in Michigan in advance of the 2020 election.

The case was brought on behalf of 15 residents of Michigan who are barred from serving on the commission under the new law. The case is being supported by Fair Lines America Foundation, which is known to have ties to the National Republican Redistricting Trust. Article IV, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution provides for the establishment of a nonpartisan commission to draw State House districts, State Senate districts and congressional districts. The law mandates that the commission be made up of 13 commissioners who in the past six years have not acted in any of eight partisan political roles including elected officials, campaign consultants and lobbyists.

The law came into place after being passed as an initiated constitutional amendment voted on by the people as Proposition 2 of the 2018 general election. The law was passed to remove political influence from the drawing of districts and place the responsibility of redistricting in the hands of an independent commission instead of the state legislature. The establishment of this commission and others like it was cited by the Supreme Court in its decision last month to rule partisan gerrymandering a “political question” beyond the reach of federal courts.

The complaint seeks a preliminary injunction against the Michigan Secretary of State which if granted will halt the implementation of the nonpartisan commission until the case is resolved.