Supreme Court issues stay, stops redrawing of Michigan's legislative maps

Gerrymandering case hits Supreme Court
Posted at 3:25 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 13:47:03-04

(WXYZ) — The Supreme Court of the United States has issued a stay on a federal panel ruling that found Michigan's congressional and legislative maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered for partisan gain.

In an order issued on Friday, SCOTUS said the application presented to Justice Sonia Sotomayor and referred to the court is granted, meaning the ruling is "stayed pending the timely filing and disposition of an appeal in this Court or further order of this Court."

SCOTUS also temporarily blocked gerrymandering a gerrymandering lawsuit in Ohio. The court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on gerrymandering cases in Maryland and North Carolina.

In April, the three-judge federal panel found that Michigan's maps were unconstitutional and ordered the state Legislature to redraw at least 34 districts ahead of the 2020 election. The Republican-led legislature filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, which issued the stay. That means the order is blocked while the Supreme Court reviews the case.

In the federal panel ruling, the judges said 34 of the state's 162 congressional and legislative districts drawn by Republicans in 2011 violated Democratic voters' rights, and did give the state legislature until Aug. 1 to submit new maps.

"Their primary goal was to draw maps that advantaged Republicans, disadvantaged Democrats, and ensured that Republicans could enjoy durable majorities in Michigan's congressional delegation and in both chambers of the Michigan legislature for the entire decade," the judges wrote.

“The court’s ruling confirms that these Michigan state House and Senate and U.S. congressional districts are unconstitutional," Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. "I respect that decision, as should we all. As the state’s chief election officer, I’m committed to working with the Legislature, citizens and the court to ensure the new districts comply with our U.S. Constitution.”