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Michigan Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit over political maps

The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court

Michigan's Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit Thursday from an activist who challenged an extended timeline for drawing political maps.

According to deadlines in the state Constitution, Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission had until Friday to release maps of congressional and statewide districts before adopting them Nov. 1. But commissioners made it clear they would blow past that timeline because the pandemic delayed this year's release of U.S. Census data.

Serial litigant Robert Davis sued the commission earlier this month, asking the state's highest court to force the panel to stick to constitutional deadlines. The court declined to do so, noting that Davis had sued in anticipation of deadlines which had not yet passed.

Nancy Wang leads Voters Not Politicians, the group that spearheaded Michigan’s new redistricting process. She says mapping is complex and the original timeframe would have sacrificed fairness.

“The maps will be better for a more kind of robust process that involves the public at every stage," Wang said during a press conference Thursday morning hours before the Supreme Court spiked Davis' lawsuit. "There are more possible district plans for Michigan than there are stars in the universe.”

Under a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2018, Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated citizens are randomly selected to serve on Michigan's redistricting commission.

Commissioners anticipate approving final maps by the end of this year, although more lawsuits could be filed to challenge the extended timeframe.