LANSING — Michigan Democrats are going to federal court to try to undo congressional and legislative electoral districts they say are unlawfully gerrymandered to Republican advantage.
They are hoping to replicate a recent success by Wisconsin Democrats, who got legislative districts in that state struck down through a 2016 federal lawsuit. The November ruling in the Wisconsin case was significant because it was a rare instance in which a federal court struck down legislative districts on the grounds of partisan gerrymandering, rather than racial gerrymandering.
Southfield attorney Mark Brewer, who is representing the plaintiffs, said he sent registered letters Tuesday to about 60 individuals who could be witnesses in the pending lawsuit, putting them on notice not to destroy records about how the districts were created in 2011. At the time, both chambers of the Legislature, plus the Michigan Supreme Court, were under GOP control, as they remain today.
“In 2011, the Republican-controlled Legislature intentionally and effectively gerrymandered the maps to benefit Republican state and federal legislators and diminish the effect of the votes of Democratic voter,” Brewer, of the law firm Goodman Acker, said in the letter giving notice of the lawsuit.