Gerrymandering is one of those strange words that has an especially ugly meaning. It refers to redrawing districts to select state and federal representatives for political reasons rather than based upon the actual upcoming Census count. The Republicans have had smaller and smaller populations, so they have tried a variety of dirty tricks to compensate for their disadvantage. That includes making it more difficult to vote during the actual elections and Gerrymandering, but all is about to change.
Republicans have redrawn representative’s districts across the country, so now they look like creatures from the dark depths of the ocean. Michigan has had enough of this sort of cheating and brought a lawsuit against the Republicans.
Michigan Republicans redrew districts after the last Census when they came into power in order to favor their party. A three-judge panel wrote their opinion against partisanship The Detroit Free Press reported:
‘(Republicans) enjoyed great success in Michigan’s 2012 elections due in large parts to the efforts of Republican legislators and map-drawers. The evidence points to only one conclusion: partisan considerations played a central role in every aspect of the redistricting process.’
The Michigan League of Women Voters and Democratic voters claimed in their lawsuit that the districts had been shaped by Republicans solely for the purpose of favoring their party, both statewide and federally. They claimed that the GOP was violating their constitutional rights. Instead, a federal court panel consisting of three judges ended the state’s gerrymandering lawsuit.
The lawsuit asked the federal court for permission to redraw a minimum of 34 districts for the 2020 Michigan elections. Given how complicit the Republicans have been gerrymandering across the state, redrawing any district adversely affects the neighboring districts, too.
Circuit Judge Eric Clay, appointed by the Democratic President Bill Clinton, signed the opinion:
‘Today, this court joins the growing chorus of federal courts that have, in recent years, held that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.’
In this unprecedented decision, some special state Senate elections will move from 2020 to 2022. Typically, the state senate elections occur every four years so that they coincide with the gubernatorial elections.
The Voters Not Politicians executive director Nancy Wang said:
‘We agree with the court ruling that existing maps were drawn with political interests in mind, rather than accurately representing Michigan voters. We hope the legislature will draw this set of interim maps to represent voters, not politicians, just like 61% of Michigan voters supported in the last election.’
Three judges on the federal panel Clay from the 6th Circuit of Appeals, U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood, and U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist noted that there were “partisan consideration” at every step along the way. They wrote:
‘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.’
Democrats thoroughly expect the Republicans to appeal the panel’s findings. Then, the gerrymandering case would head directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.