Michigan Court Denies Challenge To Redistricting Maps Made By Black Lawmakers

The Michigan Supreme Court denied a challenge of new congressional and legislative maps by Black lawmakers late Thursday night.

According to MLive, the court denied the challenge in a 4-3 decision.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and Justices Megan Cavanagh, Elizabeth Clement, and Elizabeth Welch concluded the Detroit Caucus and other plaintiffs who claimed the new maps impeded Black voters’ ability to elect their preferred candidates, did not violate the Civil Rights Act.

“Plaintiffs have not identified grounds or legal authority that would allow us to question the Commission’s decision not to draw race-based, majority-minority districts,” wrote Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and Justices Elizabeth Clement, Megan Cavanaugh, and Elizabeth Welch according to Fox2Detroit.

The previous maps had 15 majority-Black voting districts, under the new maps, two in the US house, two in the state Senate and 11 in the statehouse. Under the new maps that will drop to seven, all in the state House.

Black lawmakers and residents sued a 13-member commission that was created by voters in order to take the effort out of politicians’ hands. An attorney for the commission urged the court to deny the suit, saying the new maps will give Black voters greater influence in more districts under the new maps.

The minority judges said in their opinion the dismissal was premature and “unjust” adding the court should have appointed an expert to assess the evidence because the subject of the suit is complex.

“As a matter of procedure, the majority’s decision today is completely unprecedented,” Justices Brian Zahra, David Viviano, and Richard Bernstein wrote. They said, “it does not accord with any notion of fair play.”

Two other redistricting lawsuits in the state are still pending. Courts across the country are dealing with these kinds of suits and Democrats and Republicans battle for position in the midterm elections.

In New York, Republicans are suing Democrats over new election maps they called “undeniably politically gerrymandered in their party’s favor.”

Similar lawsuits are playing out in Ohio, North Carolina and Alabama, and Georgia where Governor Brian Kemp is also trying to create an election police force.