Supreme Court Blocks Orders on Michigan, Ohio Gerrymanders

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Supreme Court granted Republican lawmakers in Michigan and Ohio a temporary reprieve Friday from lower court orders to redraw gerrymandered election districts.

The court granted the stays this afternoon, giving the states time to fashion their appeals. Because the justices heard arguments this past March on partisan redistricting allegations from North Carolina and Maryland, the decisions to grant stays was expected.

Friday’s orders were not accompanied by any opinions or noted dissents.

In Michigan, the order against the Legislature’s gerrymandered election districts came down on April 25. Siding with 11 Michigan Democrats and the state’s League of Women Voters, a panel of federal judges ruled that Republicans had the drawn the 2011 state legislative and congressional maps to secure GOP victories.

The order in Ohio came on May 3. As alleged by voters and the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, Ohio’s 2011 congressional map gave Republicans a 12-4 advantage that entrenched power for the GOP for a decade to come.

Before adjourning for its summer recess in the next month, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a long-anticipated ruling on the cases from North Carolina and Maryland. While Republican lawmakers are accused of partisan gerrymandering in the North Carolina case, in Maryland it is Democrats who are accused of skewing district lines so that a longtime GOP congressman lost his seat.

Michigan Republicans applauded the issuance of Friday’s stay.

“This stay is good news for Michigan taxpayers and allows us to wait for the Supreme Court to rule next month on the substantive issue of whether judges should be involved in the political redistricting process,” Charles Spies, an attorney representing Republicans in the Michigan case, as quoted by MLive.

Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox likewise accused Democrats of “a desperate attempt” to redraw legislative lines two years early.

“Their political games would disenfranchise Michigan voters and force early elections,” Cox told MLive on Friday. “I applaud the United State Supreme Court’s decision to issue a stay in the case. This will allow our legislature to continue focusing on getting things done for the people of Michigan, instead of unnecessary partisan battles over political maps.”

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