GOP sues to block redistricting commission

    Voting station
    A voter carries her ballot to a polling place to vote in the primary on Aug. 28, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. | Ralph Freso, Getty Images

    A group of Republicans sued the Michigan Secretary of State Tuesday in an attempt to block the independent redistricting commission mandated by last year’s Proposal 2.

    Scott Walker
    Scott Walker

    The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 15 Michiganders who would be barred from the commission under its rules against members’ involvement in partisan politics, says the eligibility standards violate the 1st Amendment.

    Wisconsin Republican former Gov. Scott Walker is leading the charge with, as part of his group the National Republican Redistricting Trust. Other plaintiffs include Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan President Linda Lee Tarver, and her husband Clint Tarver, Lansing’s famous “Hot Dog Guy.”

    Walker said in a statement: “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.”

    News of the lawsuit drew sharp criticism from Voters Not Politicians, the voting rights nonprofit that led the charge for Proposal 2. Jamie Lyons-Eddy, the group’s director of campaigns and programs, said in a statement that they’re confident the lawsuit will be defeated.

    Prop 2 signature gathering
    Signature gathering for Proposal 2 | Voters Not Politicians

    “It’s no surprise that politicians – who directly benefit from drawing their own election maps and choosing their own voters – want to undermine the voice of voters again,” Lyons-Eddy said. “We’re confident that the proposal will survive any and all legal challenges, just as it did from many of these same politicians on the way to the ballot.”

    Earlier this July, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson explained the process by which the independent commissions will be chosen. Public comment on that process will be open until Aug. 9.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson covers local government, education, health care and the social safety net, and LGBTQ issues. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington, and before that covered local politics in Chicago. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He enjoys film, the Detroit Pistons and his cat. He once competed in the National Spelling Bee, but was eliminated before any potential ESPN appearances.

    1 COMMENT

    1. First of all, Scott Walker can stay out of Michigan’s business. More importantly, what a fluff argument!

      Only people who think they have a stacked court (which they do) would argue their party’s freedom of speech is more important than each citizen’s right to representation – a standard much higher in a free democratic republic.

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