State of Michigan

Michigan Legislative Redistricting Challenge (Agee)

Agee v. Benson

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Black voters challenging Michigan’s new legislative maps drawn with 2020 census data. The lawsuit argues that, in drawing new state House and Senate maps, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by depriving Black voters of an adequate number of districts in the Detroit area where they can elect candidates of their choice. The plaintiffs point to the fact that the number of majority-Black state House districts decreased from 10 in the previous map to six in the current map, and the number of majority-Black state Senate districts went from two to zero. The lawsuit also alleges that, by intentionally lowering the percentage of Black voters in these districts without a justified interest, the Commission used race as the predominant factor in drawing legislative districts and therefore the maps are racial gerrymanders in violation of the 14th Amendment. The lawsuit asks the court to block the current maps and order the creation of new maps; relief is not being sought for the 2022 election cycle. Trial was held in November 2023. On Dec. 21, a three-judge panel struck down certain legislative districts for being unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. On Jan. 4, 2024, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission voted to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Jan. 22, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to pause the three-judge panel’s ruling, meaning that the the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will have to proceed with redrawing the state’s legislative maps.

After the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission adopted new House districts in late February, the court approved them on March 27, 2024.

Case Documents (district court)

Case Documents (u.s. supreme court)

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