CASE SUMMARY

On January 20, 2022, a group of registered Michigan voters filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan's Secretary of State, Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, and the Commission's members, challenging the Commission's adopted congressional redistricting plan as violating the U.S. Constitution. First, plaintiffs assert that the plan, which has a overall population deviation of 1,122 persons (0.14%), is malapportioned in violation of the constitutional one person, one vote requirement under Article I, Section 2 because the Commissioners could have enacted a map with a population deviation of nearly zero and the adopted plans' deviations are not justified by any legitimate state objectives. Second, they allege that the adopted plan violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause because the in creating the plan, the Commissioners applied the Michigan Constitution's redistricting criteria in an inconsistent and arbitrary manner, specifically those regarding equal population, compactness, and the preservation of communities of interest and political subdivisions. They are seeking a judicial declaration that the adopted plan violates the U.S. Constitution, an injunction barring the defendants from implementing the plan in future elections, and for the court to establish a deadline by which the Commissioners must draw a constitutional plan, with the court stepping in to devise a remedial plan in the event they fail to do so.

On March 4, 2022 the district court issued an opinion granting in part the defendants' motion to dismiss, specifically as to the plaintiffs' Equal Protection claim. The court found that judicial review of redistricting plans for allegedly unconstitutional divisions of "communities of interest" posed the same issues as partisan gerrymandering claims, including vagueness and determinations of partisan fairness, and therefore such claims should similarly be treated as nonjusticiable by federal courts. On April 1, the court issued an opinion and order denying the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on April 29, 2022.

CASE LIBRARY

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division - No. 1:22-cv-54