The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will hear arguments in Daunt v Benson on March 17, 2021. This case challenges the constitutionality of voter-approved reforms designed to end gerrymandering in Michigan.
The decision could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and would impact the movement to adopt independent redistricting commissions (IRC) across the country.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) represents Voters Not Politicians (VNP), the grassroots group that drafted and sponsored the constitutional amendment to create an IRC. CLC has successfully defended Michigan’s voter-approved reform from two legal challenges so far, and two courts have ruled it constitutional.
Arguments will be livestreamed here at 10 a.m. ET. Mark Gaber, director of trial litigation at CLC, will be giving arguments on behalf of the defense.
Michigan’s redistricting reform amendment makes partisan politicians, lobbyists, and other political insiders and their immediate family members, who are likely to have a conflict of interest in drawing district lines to benefit themselves, ineligible from serving on the commission.
The individuals would, like any member of the public, have the ability to engage in redistricting by taking part in the public hearing process.
In 2018, 61% (over 2.5 million) of Michigan voters decided to put voters in charge of drawing state legislative and congressional election maps through a fair and transparent mapmaking process. Michigan voters of both major political parties supported the amendment, including voters in 67 of Michigan’s 83 counties.
At least 60 percent of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support the creation of IRCs, according to polling. People want voters, not self-interested politicians, to create political maps and determine the outcome of elections.