McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Redistricting

Michigan Redistricting Questioned Again in New Lawsuit ​

Update: Sep 4-15, 2023

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and members of the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) are facing another lawsuit for allegedly violating the Equal Protection and Voters Rights Act (VRA).

This new lawsuit comes after a previous lawsuit was filed by the Detroit Caucus in Detroit Caucus v ICRC, which was denied by the Michigan Supreme Court. Both lawsuits allege that the new redistricting methodology decreases the Black voting age population significantly to 50% or less from an earlier map not adopted by the ICRC which violates the VRA. The plaintiff was able to get the three-judge panel to approve the VRA claims for the 9 districts and 13 districts for Equal Protection violations.

John Bursch, the plaintiff’s attorney, hopes that the trial will end with a settlement to allow the districts to be adjusted within the year. Without a settlement, there would be a delay and the district lines would be redrawn next year. This would heavily impact the primary elections next year as candidates would have to wait for the new district lines to be drawn and approved.

With the complexity of the lawsuit, there could be many possible outcomes. Our McCall Hamilton team is monitoring this development as the trial is set for November 1, 2023.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Independent State Legislature

Update: Jun 19-30, 2023

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the “independent state legislature theory” in Moore v. Harper.

The case stems from North Carolina’s most-recently drawn congressional map, which was argued to be racially gerrymandered. The North Carolina Supreme Court had ruled that the map was in violation of the state’s constitution, but others argued that the independent state legislature theory allowed the map to be valid. This theory asserts that state legislatures have sole authority to establish federal election laws without review by courts or governors.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision, stating it was a “victory for Michigan’s citizen-led and voter-enacted independent redistricting process”.

Senate Passes Supplemental; MICRC Given $1.5M

Update: Jan 2-20, 2023

As previously reported in Updates from the Capitol, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) sued the state Legislature for failure to properly fund the commission on December 12, 2022. The commission expected the Legislature to appropriate around $3.1 million to the commission for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, but a year-end supplemental was not passed prior to adjournment.

On January 18, the Senate passed two close-of-books supplemental appropriations bills to provide funding for multiple departments for FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23. The supplementals included $1.5 million for MICRC’s expenses, about half of what the commission originally asked for in 2022.

Senate Bill 7 appropriates $146.3 million for FY 2021-22 and $1.5 million for FY 2022-23. Senate Bill 8, a School Aid supplemental, appropriates $45.6 million for FY 2021-22 and $27.9 million for FY 2022-23. Both bills have been transmitted to the House for further consideration.