Lansing, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Michigan Independent Citizens Commission’s latest map proposal for Michigan’s House districts was approved on Wednesday by a federal judicial panel.

The newest map proposal, “Motown Sound FC E1”, was found to be compliant with the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, after a previous map was found unconstitutional in a previous decision.

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“Federal law provides us no basis to reject the commission’s remedial House plan,” Judges Raymond Kethledge, Paul Maloney and Janet Neff said in an 11-page decision released Wednesday.

The judges’ opinion also highlighted that until the new map was approved, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson could not hold an election.

“We therefore enjoined the Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, from holding further elections in those districts as they are currently drawn,” the opinion said. “The Commission has now submitted a revised House plan, to which the plaintiffs have submitted several objections. We have reviewed the record before us and now overrule those objections.”

Alternative map not considered by the federal panel.

In the case that the judges would not certify the commission’s proposed map, a special master drew a backup map. Since the judges chose the commission’s map, they did not even consider the alternative map.

Special master, Benard Grofman, previously sent notice to the court that the new MICRC submitted map, “Motown Sound FC E1” was valid.
“There are always multiple ways in which maps can be drawn,” Grofman said. “I did not identify major flaws with the (Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission) map that would suggest it failed to address the race-related constitution concerns of the court.”

Commission and others support the federal decision.

Recently appointed chair, Anthony Eid (Independent), shared on X (formerly Twitter) his support for the commissions work.

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“Very Proud of the whole team,” he said on social media. “Who showed once again that we can and will come together to get the job done! Every commissioner and staff member contributed. A win for Independent Redistricting everywhere. Now onto the Senate maps.”

Common Cause Michigan, a grassroots organization supporting Democracy and government accountability, shared the news on social media.

“The court decision is in!” the group said on X (formerly Twitter). “The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new house district map has been approved! Thanks to the commission of citizens and voters who engaged in the process.”

Ahead of the Federal Judge Decision, the Commission voted to give itself a raise.

Last week, the commission voted to give itself a 40% raise in salary.

The MICRC voted 9-4 to raise the nearly $40,000 annual income to 35% of the governor’s salary, or $55,755 a year. When founded in 2020, the group’s initial base pay was set at equal to 25% of the governor’s salary.

The vote also will apply retroactively to the commission to apply to Jan. 15 to March 3, when the commission convened to address a court ordered redrawing of district maps that it determined had violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Next steps for the commission after the House map was approved.

While the new map addressing the seven house districts was approved, the commission will have to redraw six Senate districts ahead of the next Senate election.