Michigan lawmakers must disclose communications with outside groups and some internal documents subpoenaed by attorneys in a case alleging Republicans “gerrymandered” political boundaries created in 2012, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The order from Detroit U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood could offer a rare glimpse behind the curtain of the Michigan Legislature, which is not subject to public records requests under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Attorney Mark Brewer, former head of the Michigan Democratic Party, subpoenaed nearly 100 lawmakers, staff and legislative bodies in the case, which alleges the GOP created congressional and legislative maps that intentionally diminished the power of Democratic voters.
Lawmakers had moved to squash the subpoenas, with their attorneys arguing legislative immunity and legislative privilege shields under both the state and U.S. Constitutions.
But Hood, appointed to the U.S. Eastern District of Michigan court by Democratic former President Bill Clinton, ordered lawmakers and staff to turn over most requested documents, including communications with outside groups and any alternative maps produced during deliberations.