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Redistricting lawsuit formally filed, on a fast track

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A legal challenge to the state’s new congressional and legislative district maps was formally filed Thursday with the Michigan Supreme Court. That’s after a group of plaintiffs announced Monday they planned to file a lawsuit.

The plaintiffs include Detroit lawmakers and former lawmakers as well as the Romulus City Council.

Their complaint says the map adopted by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission illegally disperses Black voters from Detroit among eight congressional districts, which dilutes their voting power and would leave the state without a single congressional district with a majority of Black constituents. From the complaint:

“The new voting district maps drawn by the Commission will thwart the Black Civil Rights Movement that this nation is famous for; that this nation is proud of.

Should this Court not stop the Defendant from implementing their Plans, the Black voters of Michigan will be cast backwards in time to the days before Civil Rights heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks led the fight for the representation that the Black community of Michigan currently has.

The community of interest that is the Detroit Black community, will go from one that can unite to become powerful enough to win the United States presidency for their chosen candidate to one that cannot even elect state congress persons and senators; no matter what their voter turnout.”

The complaint says Black voters in Detroit suffer the effects of discrimination in schools, health care and employment and deserve representation that looks out for their interests.

The redistricting commission’s spokesman would not comment Thursday because it’s a matter being litigated.

Previously, the commission’s position has been its job was to create more competitive districts, not districts where a result would be guaranteed.

The next step is for both sides to file briefs supporting and opposing the complaint. The Supreme Court is supposed to put the case on a fast track to a final ruling.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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