GOP loses appeal to stop independent redistricting commission

    Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announces details of Michigan's new Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission on Oct. 24, 2019 | Claire Moore

    A U.S. Court of Appeals panel Wednesday denied Republicans’ appeal to halt the independent redistricting commission Michigan voters approved in 2018.

    Oral arguments in the 6th Circuit were held March 17 and the panel upheld a lower court decision. The Michigan Republican Party, GOP lawmakers and others brought suits claiming the panel was unconstitutional. The 13-member commission of Democrats, Republicans and independents will draw lines for congressional, state House and state Senate districts after the 2020 census. Previously, the Legislature was charged with drawing maps, which then went before the governor.

    The group Voters Not Politicians spearheaded a 2018 ballot measure for the independent commission.

    “The decision today affirms the fact that, as U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts said, voters ‘have the power to decide for themselves how they want their government to be structured,’” said Nancy Wang, executive director of Voter Not Politicians. “Over 4,000 applications to serve on Michigan’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission have been processed, and we will continue to do all that we can to get as many people involved in our fair, impartial, and transparent redistricting process as possible.”

    Th case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.