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Benson, Nessel ask federal judge to toss redistricting challenge

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are asking a federal judge to toss a challenge the state’s new redistricting law.

The amendment to create a new redistricting commission was adopted last year by voters. The amendment says former elected officials, party activists, and their relatives are not eligible to serve.

“And to punish someone based on who they’re related to is about as unconstitutional and un-American as you can get,” says Tony Daunt with the Michigan Freedom Fund, which filed the challenge. He says  the amendment violates free speech and freedom of association rights guaranteed in the US Constitution. He says until a better way is found, it should remain up to the state Legislature to draw congressional and legislative districts.

Supporters of the amendment say the rule simply guards against conflicts of interest by the people drawing the lines.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.