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Redistricting commission faces new lawsuit from one of its own

congressional map of Michigan
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s redistricting commission is facing another lawsuit. This time, it’s from one of its own members.

Commissioner Erin Wagner sued the group Wednesday in the state Court of Claims.

Gongwer News Service reports Erin Wagner’s complaint is over a Freedom of Information Act request she filed after the commission lost a state Supreme Court case in December.

The Republican commissioner sought communication records between commissioners and their attorneys that weren’t covered under attorney-client privilege.

Her complaint alleges the commission didn’t respond to her request within the time allowed under the law.

Edward Woods III is the spokesperson for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

“The MICRC is saddened to hear about the lawsuit filed by Commissioner Erin Wagner. We look forward to addressing her claim amicably,” Woods said.

Wagner was previously among the three commissioners who attempted to censure the commission’s chair. That was at a January meeting when they accused the chair of violating the group’s procedures.

Requests for comment from Wagner’s attorney were not immediately returned.

News of Wagner’s lawsuit against the MICRC comes on the same day the Michigan Supreme Court doubled down on its decision to not hear a separate case against the commission.

That complaint alleged the commission’s maps violated the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of the Black population in and around Detroit.

State Representative Tenisha Yancey (D-Detroit) was among the plaintiffs. She said she’s still confused why the court originally turned them down.

“It was because of lack of expert testimony. And usually that’s done during the discovery process, so I feel that the due process — like due process was not followed in this case. I’m not sure why,” Yancey said.

She and other Detroit-area lawmakers argued the maps made it unduly hard for the region’s Black community to elect its preferred candidates.

Yancey said the Detroit Caucus will likely decide whether to sue in federal court within the next couple of days.

“We want to make sure that we don’t go back and waste time, because time is of the essence, so, we need to just move on, figure out who or where our next jurisdiction will be,” Yancey said.

Two more challenges to the commission’s maps remain active.

A lawsuit in federal court aims to overturn the group’s Congressional map due to uneven boundaries. Meanwhile, another complaint in state court claims Michigan’s new House map is too biased toward Republicans.

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