LANSING, Mich. — The United States Supreme Court dealt a huge blow Thursday to efforts to combat the drawing of electoral districts for partisan gain. Called gerrymandering, conservative justices ruled that federal courts have no role to play in the dispute.
The ruling received immediate reaction from many of Michigan’s political leaders:
“Michiganders deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted. Gerrymandering undermines the basic idea of open and free elections — regardless of political affiliation. It’s disappointing that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review this unfair practice, despite several other courts declaring partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional. This is why passage of Proposal 2 was so crucial to ensure Michigan has fair maps and fair representation. As governor, I will continue to do my job to ensure that voters can pick their elected officials, not the other way around.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
“I am disappointed in today’s decision. Following the 2010 Census, the Michigan state legislature drew what has been widely regarded as some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country. Politicians shouldn't’t be able to pick their own voters, and Michiganders spoke loud and clear last November that the current redistricting process is in desperate need of reform. I have confidence that the Citizens Redistricting Commission will use the 2020 Census to create fairer districts and representation that reflects the will of voters.”
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
“The decision by the Supreme Court is the correct one,” said Congressman Bill Huizenga. “I have consistently said that the courts should not be in the business of determining legislative boundaries. These decisions should be made by legislators who are accountable to the people they represent.”
Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02)
“I am very disappointed in today’s Supreme Court decision. Partisan gerrymandering diminishes the voices of voters and weakens our democracy. The U.S. Constitution affords equal protection under the law to all Americans, yet the continuation of partisan gerrymandering will violate these rights. Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.
While I am disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision, I am grateful that the people of Michigan passed a statewide ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission to ensure that Michigan has fair maps and fair representation.”
Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-05)
“Now that we know that the U.S. Supreme Court won’t intervene to redraw lines, it’s even more of a good thing that Michigan voters put an end to partisan gerrymandering at the ballot box last November. Because voters made the right call, we will have fairly drawn maps by the next time the Michigan Senate is up for reelection. Other states should follow our lead.”
State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint)
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today closes a vital door for citizens seeking recourse in a fundamental part of our representative democracy. This decision makes it even more important that last fall Michigan voters took the process of drawing district lines out of the hands of politicians and placed it squarely in the hands of our citizens. With clarity from the courts we will move forward to implement the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission for the 2022 elections and actively engage all of our citizens in a transparent process that leads to fair districts for all.”
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