A three-member panel of federal judges in Michigan has rejected a Republican attempt to block the state’s new Congressional districts, for now. The ramifications of that attempt having been successful would no doubt have included more unfair Congressional district lines getting put in place — but now, the previously set district boundaries will stay. The judges handling this matter didn’t accept the right-wing argument that the Congressional districts, as drawn, featured inappropriately broad differences of population. The differences in population between the Congressional districts “were necessary to keep intact communities of interest — places united by shared economic, historical and cultural interests — identified by the commission,” as the Detroit Free Press summarizes the three-judge panel’s conclusions, going off the arguments made by the independent commission that drew the state’s new Congressional district boundaries for the first time.
It’s time to end the filibuster, pass voting rights legislation, and protect your voice at the ballot box.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) March 27, 2022
Specifically, the judges rejected a push for a preliminary injunction to block the new districts, and the case hasn’t drawn to a conclusive end yet — but this latest development constitutes a victory for democracy. To be clear, the difference in population between the biggest and smallest Congressional districts on the new map is 1,122 — so there’s nothing overly dramatic going on here. The largest district on the map has 775,666 people and the smallest includes 774,544 individuals. Notably, the three federal judges (all of whom were appointed by Republican President George W. Bush) who handled this matter found that the Republicans behind the lawsuit against the lines failed to propose a map that would have kept those communities of interest together and lowered population differences between individual districts. Previously, the Republicans behind this court challenge also argued against the divisions of certain jurisdictions under the new Congressional map, but the three judges dealing with these claims already set that argument aside last month.
A federal judge has ruled Florida's 2021 voting restrictions violate the Voting Rights Act. The ruling includes a permanent injunction against the law's limitations on absentee ballot drop boxes and says Florida must obtain preclearance before it enacts some new election laws.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 1, 2022
The Detroit Free Press said the new Congressional district map in Michigan seems “poised to significantly reduce the GOP advantage baked into the current districts, according to measures of partisan fairness used by the commission.” According to POLITICO, the state — which lost a U.S. House seat in the last redistricting cycle because of declining population — is set to have four districts that would have gone firmly for Biden, four that would have backed Trump to a similar extent, and five competitive districts under the newly enacted configuration. Most states have finalized Congressional redistricting plans, but — despite the imminently upcoming elections — Florida is among the states that have not done so, with the state’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis having recently vetoed plans passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature. He’s pushing for something that would be more favorable to Republicans if put into force. Meanwhile, legal challenges over Congressional redistricting are continuing — points of contention include the decision by Kansas Republicans to split the state’s most racially and ethnically diverse county for the first time in decades.
🚨BREAKING: Republicans lose another redistricting case. This time in Michigan before 3 GOP appointed federal judges. I'm starting to feel a little bad for them.
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) April 1, 2022