McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Supreme Court Rulings

U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge in Redistricting Case

Update: Oct 31-Nov 11, 2022

On Monday, November 7, Banerian v. Benson, a lawsuit challenging the adopted U.S. House redistricting plan, was dismissed as moot by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case was filed on January 20, 2022, by a group of Michigan Republicans, including conservative activists, former lawmakers, and at least one sitting lawmaker – Rep Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) –against the Michigan Secretary of State, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC), and the Commission’s members. The lawsuit alleges the adopted redistricting plan violates the U.S. Constitution, specifically the one person, one vote requirement. Plaintiffs also alleged the commissioners defied the communities of interest standard set forth in the Michigan Constitution.

In April, the map was upheld after a three-judge 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction against the new congressional map. Judge Raymond Kethledge, who oversaw the case, wrote that the population deviation was not sufficient to warrant disapproval of the commission’s work. The commission was also said to follow the communities of interest standard. Mr. Kethledge additionally wrote that the plaintiffs did not identify an alternative plan that would better preserve communities’ interests while equally resembling the population.

Board of Canvassers Certify Voting and Abortion Ballot Measures

Update: Sep 5-16, 2022

As previously reported in Updates from the Capitol, the Board of State Canvassers failed to approve the Promote the Vote 2022 and Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiatives during an uncharacteristically contentious meeting on Wednesday, August 31. The move temporarily blocked the measures from being placed on the November general election ballot.

Both proposals met the requisite signature requirements to qualify for the ballot, however, two Republican members of the board cited concerns regarding the formatting and clarity of the proposals’ language. The Board ultimately deadlocked in a 2 to 2 vote, prompting appeals from the ballot proposals supporters to the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene.

On Thursday, September 8, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 2 opinion that the actions of the Board of State Canvassers were not within its purview, among other things, and it was the duty of the Board to certify the two constitutional ballot initiatives for the November ballot.

In response to the Supreme Court decision, the Board unanimously approved the measures on Friday, September 9 for inclusion on the November general election ballot.

Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

Update: Jul 25-Aug 5, 2022

On Thursday, July 29, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 2 decision that denial of goods, services, etc. on the basis of sexual orientation violates Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). The majority opinion was written by Republican-nominated Justice Elizabeth Clement. The ruling significantly expands protections for the LGBTQ community as ELCRA has jurisdiction over employers of all sizes and prohibits discrimination beyond employment, in places of public accommodation, such as housing. A lower court ruling separately found the ELCRA to apply to gender identity as well.

While the ruling on Thursday and the lower court ruling were celebrated by those in the LGBTQ community and allies, the protections are not yet enshrined in law – something Democrat lawmakers, such as State Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), hope to change.

It is important to note that the Michigan Supreme Court opinion was silent on whether enforcement of the protections violated constitutional religious liberties. Groups, like the Michigan Catholic Conference, expressed concern that the ruling could pose a threat to religious liberties under the state Constitution. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey also expressed concern regarding possible infringement on “those with firmly held religious beliefs”.