On January 5, 2022 a coalition of current and former Black Michigan lawmakers, the Romulus City Council, and other Michigan voters filed a lawsuit against Michigan's Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, challenging the Commission's final congressional and legislative redistricting plans as violating the Michigan Constitution's art. IV, § 6(13)(a) requirement that districts "shall comply with the [federal] Voting Rights Act[.]" Plaintiffs' claims centered around the congressional and legislative districts in and around Detroit, which they asserted impermissibly divided Black communities and resulted in the dilution of Black voters' voting strength in violation of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, plaintiffs alleged these plans also unconstitutionally violated the retrogression standard under § 5 of the Voting Rights Act, citing the new plans' diminution of majority-Black congressional districts from 2 to 0, state Senate districts from 5 to 0, and state House districts from 12 to 2. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the Commission's proposed final redistricting plans violated the federal Voting Rights Act and, as a result, the Michigan Constitution, and a court order directing the Commission to redraw the congressional and legislative plans to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
On February 3, 2022 the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order rejecting the plaintiffs' claims and dismissing the complaint. The Court explained that the plaintiffs failed to establish the third Gingles precondition of racial bloc voting in the challenged districts, citing the plaintiffs' lack of a racial-bloc voting analysis in support of their claims and the Commission's expert testimony detailing sufficient amounts of white crossover voting for Black-preferred candidates such that they retained an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
On February 11, 2022 the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for rehearing with the Michigan Supreme Court arguing the Court improperly dismissed their claims after only the pleadings phase and, now that the plaintiffs have retained an expert witness to testify as to racially polarized voting in Michigan, the Court should give them an opportunity to prove their claims. On February 16, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order denying the motion for a rehearing.
Michigan Supreme Court - No. 163926
- Complaint - 12/5/21
- First Amended Verified Complaint - 1/10/22
- Defendant Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission's Answer to Plaintiffs' First Amended Verified Complaint - 1/18/22
- Defendant Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission's Brief in Support of Its Answer to Plaintiffs' First Amended Verified Complaint - 1/18/22
- Order Dismissing Complaint - 2/3/22
- Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Rehearing - 2/11/22
- Plaintiffs' Motion for Immediate Consideration of Their Emergency Motion for Rehearing - 2/11/22
- Order - 2/16/22