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Michigan Redistricting Gets More Complicated After Appeal

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 31, 2018 11:43 AM

The redistricting/gerrymandering case going on in the state of Michigan just got a whole lot more complicated. That's because the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed eight Republican Congress members to intervene in the League of Women Voter's lawsuit against the Michigan Secretary of State.

The lawsuit alleges that after the 2010 U.S. census, Republican lawmakers unconstitutionally redrew the districts to their advantage.

Limiting the Challenge

Unfortunately for the plaintiffs in this matter, in addition to the inclusion of the new defendants, the district court dismissed the claims for statewide relief, limiting the case to only specific jurisdictions where the alleged unconstitutional gerrymandering occurred.

Compounding the challenges for the plaintiffs, a majority of the Sixth Circuit panel hearing the matter did not agree with the district court that the intervenors from Congress should not be included. Notably though, one judge did agree with district court. In a dissenting opinion, Judge Karen Nelson Moore explained that the inclusion of eight more defendants increases burden on the party and the courts, and serves to delay the litigation further. Additionally, she highlighted that the Congress member informed the court that issues will be relitigated.

As Courthouse News Service highlighted in their writeup, Judge Moore doesn't hold back in expressing her disapproval of the majority opinion. She actually wrote the following in her dissent:

"The majority hamstrings the district court's smooth administration of this case and then offers, in consolation, that it could have been worse."

She then followed that up by explaining that the majority applied the wrong rule, and thus wielding too much of a heavy hand over the district court's discretionary function of administering justice.

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