Federal Judge Dismisses Republican Lawsuit Over Constitutionality of Redistricting Commission


A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit backed by the Michigan Republican Party that claimed restrictions on members of the redistricting commission in the state were unconstitutional.

The Michigan Republican Party and Tony Daunt, the executive director for the Michigan Freedom Fund, had originally submitted two separate lawsuits that later joined together claiming that the voter-backed redistricting commission violated their constitutional rights, including right to association, according to MLive.

The commission, created in October 2019, prohibits people who have served in the past six years as partisan political officials, candidates or registered lobbyist agents. It also prohibits their employees or close relatives from joining the commission. The redistricting commission will redraw state electoral maps and will be comprised of four members who affiliate with the Republican party, four members who affiliate with the Democratic party and five members who are not affiliated with either major party.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff ruled on Monday in favor of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, saying that the plaintiffs had failed to provide plausible evidence for their claims. The ruling was applauded by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

“This decision reaffirms exactly what our democracy demands: a fair process for the people of this state,” Nessel said in a statement. “In 2018, Michiganders made it abundantly clear that the integrity of our democracy should not be left up to those in positions of power looking to satisfy their own agenda. The Court’s decision today is historic for the people of this state and further solidifies their right to be heard.”

Daunt said that he will be reviewing the judge decision.

“We continue to believe that these restrictions unfairly prohibit certain Michigan citizens from serving their state, targeting them for exercising their constitutional rights or, most egregiously, for simply being related to someone who does,” he said in a statement, according to MLive.

Read the full decision here.

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected].




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