Michigan Supreme Court Considers Anti-Gerrymandering Proposal

The justices were torn over what constitutes an amendment.

Nights On WWJ
July 18, 2018 - 8:08 pm

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DETROIT (WWJ) - The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether an anti-gerrymandering ballot proposal should be considered by state voters this fall. 

The ballot measure, which garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures, is being challenged by Attorney General Bill Schuette and conservative activists. 

Sam Levine reports on voting rights cases for the Huffington Post, in an interview with WWJ's Russ McNamara, he says the justices were torn over what constitutes an amendment.

"What you saw this morning was some of the justices saying, 'if there's not a clear definition, then we should defer to the voters,' this is a measure that has already qualified for the ballot and if we don't have clear guidance from the state constitution or from any other case - then we shouldn't step in and get in the business of saying what should and shouldn't be on the ballot," says Levine. 

He says it was difficult to tell which way the justices were leaning since three didn't speak at all. 

"The argument for keeping it off the ballot," says Levine, "is that this measure amounts to a general revision of Michigan's constitution - those who are challenging it, like you mentioned the attorney general and a group of conservative activists,  say that the measure is so broad that it can't possibly be an amendment to the constitution." 

The Brennan Center for Justice says that Michigan is one of the most heavily gerrymandered states in the country - with Republicans gaining an extra two or three congressional seats.