April 26 (UPI) — A federal court ruled Thursday that Michigan must redraw its congressional and legislative maps and hold new Senate elections in 2020.
The three-judge panel ruled that the current map, drawn by Republicans when they held both branches of Congress and the governorship, constitutes unconstitutional gerrymandering.
“We find that the Enacted Plan violates Plaintiffs’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights because it deliberately dilutes the power of their votes by placing them in districts that were intentionally drawn to ensure a particular partisan outcome in each district,” U.S. Circuit Court Judge Eric Clay wrote in the decision.
The ruling tasked the state’s Republican-led House and Senate with redrawing at least 34 of the state’s 162 legislative and congressional districts.
The new districts must be completed and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by Aug. 1 or the federal court will draw new boundaries.
The ruling also requires special state Senate elections to be held two years ahead of schedule in 2020, as the panel determined all 10 Senate districts challenged in the lawsuit were unlawfully gerrymandered.
“The primary goal was to draw maps that advantaged Republicans, disadvantaged Democrats and ensured that Republicans could enjoy durable majorities in Michigan’s congressional delegation and in both chambers of the Michigan legislature for the entire decade,” the ruling stated.
Republicans are expected to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, which is set to review other gerrymandering cases in Maryland and North Carolina.