From today’s Detroit Free Press:
Michigan’s congressional districts — drawn for the first time by an independent redistricting commission — survived a legal challenge from Republicans with a Friday ruling from a three-judge panel upholding the new lines.
In a unanimous opinion, the federal judges — all nominees of former President George W. Bush, a Republican — rejected the allegation that the new districts contain unjustifiably large population differences. The Republicans who sued the commission argue that the commission failed to draw congressional districts with an equal population.
And they wanted the court to suspend the use of the commission’s congressional map in the 2022 elections.
The panel denied that request for a preliminary injunction Friday. In a unanimous opinion attached to the order, the panel determined that those suing the commission were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim. The panel’s order allows the maps to stand for now, but the case is still pending.
The opinion, written by Judge Raymond Kethledge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, called the population deviation in the new congressional map “small” and the commission’s justification for it “undisputedly legitimate.”
The population differences among the districts were necessary to keep intact communities of interest — places united by shared economic, historical and cultural interests — identified by the commission, the panel concluded.
Those suing the commission, meanwhile, failed to present an alternative map that would have preserved those communities and reduced population differences among the districts, the opinion found.
Read the complete story here.