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Redistricting Proposal Argued In Front Of Michigan Supreme Court

Jul 19, 2018

Katie Fahey (left) and other members of Voters Not Politicians gather outside of the Hall of Justice after the Michigan Supreme Court hears oral arguments.
Credit Cheyna Roth / MPRN

The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about whether a redistricting proposal can go on the November ballot.


The state Solicitor General weighed in during the arguments.  He says the proposal would change too much of the state constitution.  And the only way to pass this measure is through a constitutional convention.

Justice Richard Bernstein was skeptical of the argument and said the Attorney General’s office’s position was “startling” because it takes away the ability of the voters to have a say.

“Let’s kinda get real here,” Bernstein said.  “How are people going to call a constitutional convention?  I mean, seriously, I mean are you really equating that to a ballot initiative in terms of a separate vehicle that the voters have?  I mean come on.”

State Solicitor General Aaron Lindstrom said just because a constitutional convention is difficult doesn’t mean it’s not the right method.

“So it may be hard to do, but the point that it’s hard to do might be consistent with the fact that it’s ending up with a new constitution,” he said.

The proposal would create a redistricting commission made up of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  Proponents say it would take the politics out of how the state’s political lines are drawn.  Currently, the state Legislature draws the boundaries after every census – which means the party in control of the Legislature has the most influence over the lines.

Katie Fahey is the leader of Voters Not Politicians, that’s the group behind the measure.  She and other members of Voters Not Politicians rallied outside of the Hall of Justice.  Fahey said, “I think it’s a fight about whether the people of Michigan can be trusted to amend our own constitution or not.”

A representative for the Secretary of State asked the court to decide the case by early August.  The final ballot has to be certified by September 7th.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org