WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday night, members of the Michigan House of Representatives representing Detroit, the Romulus City Council and Black voters filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Supreme Court challenging Michigan’s new legislative and congressional maps passed in December. The complaint, filed against the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, argues that the new maps dilute the voting strength of Black voters, particularly in and around the city of Detroit, in violation of the state Constitution and the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The plaintiffs ask the court to declare the current maps invalid and order the commission to redraw the maps to comply with the Michigan Constitution.
The complaint focuses on how new congressional and legislative districts were drawn to represent Black voters. Regarding the congressional map, the plaintiffs allege that the two majority-Black districts under the old map were eliminated in this round of redistricting and instead were split into eight new districts in which Black voters make up a minority of the voting population. The plaintiffs argue that “by breaking the majority-Black US Congressional districts into eight voter districts from its previous two voter districts, it will dilute the vote of the Black community in Michigan into meaninglessness.” The complaint also alleges that the new state House and Senate maps do not give Black voters adequate representation. Given that Black voters in Michigan are a community of interest with a cohesive voting pattern according to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Black voters were impermissibly diluted in violation of the VRA, which is not allowed under the Michigan Constitution.