A proposal to create an independent redistricting commission will appear on the November ballot, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled late Tuesday in a closely watched case.
The 4-3 decision is rife with political implications in Michigan, where Republicans have maintained or grown congressional and legislative advantages since last drawing the state’s political boundaries in 2011.
Volunteers with the Voters Not Politicians committee gathered nearly 400,000 valid signatures to put the anti-gerrymandering plan before voters. The Board of State Canvassers certified the group’s petitions, but the proposal was challenged as being overly broad.
In a split decision, the state’s highest court ruled that voter-initiated proposals are permissible if they do not “significantly alter or abolish the form or structure of our government, making it tantamount to creating a new constitution.”
The redistricting proposal “surpasses these hurdles,” Justice David Viviano wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined by fellow Republican appointee Beth Clement and Democratic-nominated Justices Bridget McCormack and Richard Bernstein.
The proposal would create a 13-member redistricting commission that would be composed of four Democrats, four Republicans and five independent members who vow they are not affiliated with any major political party. The secretary of state would select the commission members.
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