Michigan Attorney General Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit by Residents Who Are Ineligible to Serve on New Redistricting Commission

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Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to throw out a lawsuit that aims to scrap a new process of drawing districts.

Fifteen Michigan GOP politicians and residents who are ineligible to serve on an independent redistricting commission filed the lawsuit, according to a story by MLive.

Nessel asked for a pre-motion conference to dismiss the complaint and her office will file a full legal response to the lawsuit, MLive said.

The complaint was filed by Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tony Daunt, state Sen. Tom Barrett, Board of State Canvassers member Norm Shinkle, Michigan Republican Party officials, lobbyists and political consultants.

Voters approved Proposal 2 in 2018 to create the commission, which the plaintiffs say is unconstitutional, The Michigan Star reported. Proposal 2 moved responsibility for redrawing district boundaries from the State Legislature to a citizen commission, The Hill said.

The border of Michigan’s districts have been disputed since Republicans drew them in 2011 after they controlled the legislature and governor’s office, The Hill said. A court ruling went against the current lines earlier this year. That case went away when the Supreme Court decided not to hear redistricting cases from two other states.

The 15 plaintiffs in the lawsuit that was filed July 30 say that the eligibility requirements for the commission violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, The Star said. Partisan officeholders and candidates, as well as their employees, some relatives and lobbyists are all prohibited from serving on the commission.

The National Republican Redistricting Trust filed the lawsuit on behalf of the 15 plaintiffs, The Star said. Scott Walker, former Wisconsin governor, is chairman of the Trust.

“Every American has the right to peaceably align themselves with a political party (or not), speak into the political process, and petition their government,” Walker said. “Any reform, no matter how poorly conceived, must achieve its goals without infringing on the basic rights guaranteed to all of us by the Constitution. Michigan’s new redistricting commission falls short of that standard by punishing the people of Michigan for exercising those rights – or for being related to someone who has.”

Voters Not Politicians filed a motion on August 12 to act as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was originally filed against Jocelyn Benson in her official capacity as Michigan Secretary of State.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.

 

 

 

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  1. […] District Court for the Western District of Michigan to throw out the second lawsuit, according to a story by The […]

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