Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign legislation enacting new state legislative district maps, as well as new boundaries for U.S. House of Representatives districts, prompting local Republicans to expect a legal challenge to the maps that have been approved by both chambers of the state Legislature.
Michigan Democrats have called the approved maps “gerrymandered,” but Michigan Democratic Party Director of Communications John Tramontana said that no decisions have yet been made about a legal challenge to the maps, which Democrats also contended were rushed through the redistricting process unnecessarily.
“We’ll sit down with the Democratic caucuses in the (state) House and Senate, as well as the Congressional delegation, and determine a plan of action,” Tramontana said.
“I would expect a challenge, but when the maps were drawn, there were three criteria that kept being (raised),” and those were fairness, legality, and whether they adhered to the state Constitution,” said state Sen. Mike Kowall (R-Commerce, Highland, Milford, Walled Lake, Wixom, Wolverine Lake, White Lake, Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield).
If a possible legal challenge fails to pass muster in the Michigan Court of Appeals, where it would be considered, the lakes area would be represented by lawmakers serving the following districts in Lansing and Washington D.C.:
• The 29th state House District will represent Orchard Lake;
• The 38th state House District will represent Walled Lake;
• The 39th state House District will represent Commerce Township, Wolverine Lake, Wixom, and the western half of West Bloomfield Township;
• The 40th state House District will represent the eastern half of West Bloomfield Township;
• The 43rd state House District will represent a portion of Waterford Township;
• The 44th state House District will represent Milford, Highland Township, White Lake Township, and a portion of Waterford Township;
• The 14th state Senate District will represent Highland Township and Waterford Township;
• The 15th state Senate District will represent White Lake Township, Milford, Commerce Township, West Bloomfield Township, Orchard Lake, Walled Lake, Wixom, and Wolverine Lake;
• The 11th U.S. Congressional District will represent Waterford, a portion of West Bloomfield Township, White Lake Township, Commerce Township, Wolverine Lake, Wixom, Walled Lake, Milford, and Highland Township;
• The 14th U.S. Congressional District will represent Orchard Lake and a portion of West Bloomfield Township.
The proposed U.S. House district lines didn’t sit well with two Michigan Democrats serving on Capitol Hill who would be forced to square off against each other in a primary election under the proposed districts.
“Voters in Michigan have never before faced such a shamelessly partisan redrawing of congressional boundaries,” said U.S. Reps. Gary Peters (D-Orchard Lake, Waterford, West Bloomfield) and Sander Levin (D-Southfield) in a joint statement last month. “Instead of drawing fair lines that follow community and county borders in a logical way, the Republican Legislature has drafted a map so skewed that it exploits every trick in the book to gerrymander districts in ways that benefit Republican incumbents. The Legislature and Gov. (Rick) Snyder should reject this gerrymandered map and draw congressional boundaries in a way that puts Michigan voters’ interests squarely ahead of flagrant partisan advantage.”