The Michigan Senate is looking to weigh in as a legislative body in the federal lawsuit challenging Michigan’s existing political district lines as Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson seeks a settlement in the case. On Wednesday, the chamber passed a resolution via voice vote to grant Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey the authority to intervene in the case, which was initiated by the League of Women Voters in December 2017. Amber McCann, Shirkey’s spokesperson, said the motion to intervene would be filed sometime Thursday. The court has final say over whether that motion is granted. “As a whole, the majority leader thought it was important to insert the Senate into the legal proceedings in the event that the body is included in the settlement,” McCann said.
The lawsuit claims Michigan’s 2011 redistricting process heavily favored Republicans and resulted in gerrymandered districts. Former Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson – now a state senator – had defended the state’s existing political district lines prior to leaving office.
The case was slated to go to trial in early February, but Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson filed a brief in court concurring with a request from attorneys for several Republican officials that the trial be put on hold, saying in a statement “the court has found significant evidence of partisan gerrymandering, and the likely outcome would not be favorable to the state.”