GOP officials appeal redistricting court decision

    Michigan congressional districts | Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

    Michigan Republican Party officials are appealing an opinion by a federal judge that the state’s new Independent Redistricting Commission should be implemented. 

    Judge Janet Neff on Monday denied the GOP request to halt its implementation and said that the Republicans’ case is unlikely to hold up based on its merits. The plaintiffs in the case on Tuesday evening, however, moved to appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

    Michigan GOP spokesman Tony Zammit declined to comment on the reasons behind the appeal. 

    Judge allows independent redistricting commission to move forward over GOP objections

    Plaintiffs in the case include sitting lawmakers, party activists and people who would be excluded from sitting on the redistricting panel, such as lawmakers’ relatives. 

    Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who in her official capacity is the defendant in the case, has begun holding informational sessions related to serving on the commission, which is set to convene in 2021. 

    In 2018, 61% of voters last year approved Proposal 2 creating the new commission, which will take over redistricting duties from the state Legislature and governor, something noted by Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians, which led the campaign. 

    Benson, lawmakers hold town hall on redistricting panel, voting changes

    “An overwhelming majority of Michigan voters cast their ballot to amend our state Constitution to bring fair maps to Michigan, yet a small group of politicians and special interests refuse to accept that,” Wang said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “We look forward to putting these meritless lawsuits behind us and focusing our time and resources on public education and outreach to maximize voter participation in the new redistricting process.”

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.