Was the last re-drawing of Michigan’s political district maps so biased in Republicans’ favor, they were illegal? That question literally went on trial Tuesday, with a three-judge panel in Detroit’s federal court hearing arguments for and against Michigan’s 2011 redistricting maps. Democrats and the League of Women Voters took those maps to court. They claim that both quantitative research and insider emails show the state’s last redistricting was a conscious Republican gerrymander. The plaintiffs call it a “secretive, intense effort” to dilute the power of Democratic votes, and cement Republican advantages after the GOP’s 2010 electoral wins.
Their first witnesses were League of Women Voters President Susan Smith, and George Washington University political scientist Christopher Warshaw.
Attorneys for the Republican defendants tried to chip away at their case for both the political consequences of the redistricting, and dispute the fact that there’s a mathematical basis for determining gerrymandering.