Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan Republicans sue over newly drawn congressional districts

By: - January 24, 2022 7:06 am

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission holds a public hearing in Lansing. Photo by Anna Gustafson

Seven Michigan Republicans have filed a lawsuit against the state’s redistricting commission, arguing that the recently approved congressional maps are “non-neutral,” “arbitrary,” and disregard community boundaries.

Final U.S. House map approved by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission on Dec. 28, 2021

The suit asks a judge to order the commission to redraw the congressional districts so that fewer counties are broken up by district boundaries.

It’s the second lawsuit challenging the new districts. A dozen Black lawmakers and leaders from metro Detroit sued the commission last month, saying the maps are racially discriminatory and violate the Voting Rights Act.

According to the Republicans’ lawsuit, the 13 congressional districts broke up 15 of Michigan’s 83 counties, including Oakland, which was split up into six separate congressional districts.

“This is evidence that the commissioners did not apply its criteria in a neutral and consistent manner but rather in an inconsistent and arbitrary manner,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit argues that the maps violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause and the U.S. Constitution’s “one person, one vote” principle. Republicans also claim the maps violate the 2018 constitutional amendment that created the redistricting commission.

The impetus for that constitutional amendment was decades of gerrymandering that gave Republicans a political advantage.

Some of the Republicans who filed the lawsuit are state Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain); former state Rep. Joe Graves (R-Linden); former congressional district candidate Harry Sawicki; and Mike Banerian and Cameron Pickford of the right-wing Michigan Freedom Fund.

This story first ran in the Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to their newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.

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Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist with the Detroit Metro Times. He operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker, Neavling was a five-year veteran of the Detroit Free Press, covering Detroit’s city hall.