State's top court rejects latest redistricting challenge

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has turned down a challenge by Democratic-aligned groups to a new map for state House seats.

The groups claim the map unfairly favors Republicans and conflicts with the state Constitution, which says no party shall have a disproportionate advantage in redistricting.

But in a brief order handed down on Friday, the court, 5-2, said it would not get involved.

In 2018, voters created a 13-member commission to make maps for seats in Congress and the Legislature, taking the work out of the hands of politicians. More than 130 hearings were open to the public before new boundaries were approved in December.

“The commission states that it chose to balance partisan fairness with other higher-order constitutional criteria, including its consideration of the identified communities of interest in Flint and the Chaldean community,” Justice Megan Cavanagh said. “Plaintiffs have not rebutted that this was a permissible choice.”

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack joined Cavanagh's statement. Both are Democrats.

Justices Elizabeth Welch and Richard Bernstein, also Democrats, disagreed and wanted to hear the case.

“The responsibility to give meaning to and enforce our constitution’s antipartisan gerrymandering provision belongs to this court,” Welch wrote. “Indeed, this court is the only judicial authority empowered to ensure the commission’s adopted plans comply with the redistricting criteria.”

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