Supreme Court Refuses to Overrule Lower Court’s Order To Redraw Detroit Legislative Seats

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an attempt to reverse the decisions of lower federal courts, which had mandated that Michigan’s redistricting commission redraw 13 state legislative districts in and around Detroit to increase their competitiveness.

The federal courts have mandated that state officials revise the state House and Senate districts due to their unconstitutional nature. As a result, a substantial portion of the maps created in 2021 by Michigan’s inaugural Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission have been invalidated.

“The three-judge panel ordered the Secretary of State to refrain from holding elections in those districts until they are redrawn in compliance with the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

The redistricting commission filed an appeal with the Supreme Court to overturn a December decision by a three-judge federal appeals court panel that found that racial bias had improperly influenced the design of Michigan’s legislative maps in 2021.

The ruling of the panel emphasized that although nearly 80 percent of Detroit’s population consists of black individuals, the proportion of black individuals of voting age in the 13 districts in the Detroit area varied predominantly from 35 percent to 45 percent, with one district as low as 19 percent, the Associated Press reported.

The panel was required to revise the boundaries of the seven state House districts in preparation for the 2024 election. Furthermore, the report stated that the deadline for the six state Senate districts was extended because the senators’ terms would not end until 2026.

“A drafted state House map is due by Feb. 2, and a final deadline is March 29,” the AP added.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court did not explain why it was not taking up the case. John Bursch, an attorney for the Detroit voters who sued the commission, said they were “very pleased” with the high court’s decision. Bursch said the commission could still appeal, but he called the Supreme Court’s order “a strong indicator that such an appeal will likely fail.”

David Dulio, a political science professor at Oakland University in Michigan, suggested to the AP that while the specifics of the new maps are uncertain, it is probable that there will be a rise in the count of “Detroit-focused” districts that would strongly lean Democratic. This shift could potentially influence the competitiveness of districts in the suburbs, making them more contested.

“You could see these districts, or even a subset of them, really be where the fight for control of the state House is,” Dulio said.

In 2022, Michigan Democrats managed to secure control of both the state House and Senate while also retaining the governor’s office, thereby obtaining complete control of the state government for the first time in 40 years. The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s redrawing of legislative maps in 2021 is partially to blame for the party’s success.

The ruling comes as the 2024 presidential election is already underway.

Trump’s polling among average, working-class Americans has been climbing for months, but a new survey shows him with an even more commanding lead among that voting demographic.

The Center Square’s polling of “2,573 likely voters, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, shows Trump’s support is highest among Republican voters making less than $50,000 and those without a college degree.”

The poll revealed that among all probable Republican and Republican-leaning voters, Trump enjoys a substantial lead over other GOP contenders. Among these likely voters, 61 percent expressed their preference for Trump. Following far behind were former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with 13 percent and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 12 percent. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy garnered 7 percent support, while former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has since suspended his campaign, secured just 2 percent, the Center Square reported.

Among voters with a household income of less than $50,000, Trump garnered the support of 70%. For voters in the $50,000 to $100,000 income range, the former president had 58% support. However, this figure declined to 51% for those with a household income above $100,000 annually. Regardless of the income level, Trump enjoyed more support than all of his GOP competitors combined, the outlet noted further.

“Voters without a college degree backed Trump with 68% support compared with 48% for those with a college degree,” the outlet’s report noted further, citing the survey data.

Michael Bitzer, politics department chair at Catawba College in North Carolina, told Center Square: “With the growing diploma gap between the two parties if college-degree Republicans are softer in their support of the former president come the general election in November, that may pose a challenge for a candidate that believes he can only win his base and secure an electoral victory.”

He noted further that support from the suburbs will also weigh heavily.

“The other interesting dynamic is among suburban Republican voters compared to urban and especially rural Republican respondents,” Bitzer said. “Compared to almost two-thirds of urban and rural Republicans supporting the former president, the below 60% of suburban voters supporting the former president in the primary may be another warning signal for the general campaign, since nationally so many suburban areas tend to be the swing areas of deciding November’s election.”

How Trump comes across personally to voters is another factor.

“Persona is also part of the equation,” Byler said. “We let Trump supporters tell us, in their own words, why they backed him. And a decent chunk of his loyalists said he was tough, a straight shooter, and honest in a way that other politicians aren’t. Not every voter thinks this persona is genuine, but his supporters do.”

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