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Redistricting commission asks court for more time to finish maps

The seal of the Michigan Supreme Court
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
The seal of the Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission wants more time to do its job.

Attorneys for the commission made their case Monday before the Michigan Supreme Court. They say the problem is the court won’t get all the U.S. Census data it needs in time to meet its deadlines, because the COVID-19 crisis has delayed sharing those numbers.

“The constitution says nobody other than the commission can draw the maps, and it has no penalty for non-compliance, so what if the commission just does it as soon as it can, but it doesn’t meet the deadline, what is the penalty?” asked Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack. “What are you worried about?”

The commission’s attorney said failing to meet deadlines could make the commission’s work vulnerable to legal challenges.

“You’re coming to us in advance looking for a get-out-of-jail-free card,” said Justice David Viviano. “That’s pretty unique in Michigan’s history as far as I can see.”

Viviano suggested the commission could come back to the court if it does miss its deadline.

Assistant Attorney General Ann Sherman said a successful legal challenge to its work could circumvent what voters wanted when they approved the amendment in 2018.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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