Statement from Common Cause Michigan on Independent Redistricting Commission’s Decision to Hire Partisan Litigator

Statement from Common Cause Michigan Program Director Quentin Turner

Yesterday, Michigan’s Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission voted to hire Baker-Hostetler to serve as their litigation counsel should the new voting district maps be challenged in court. We are deeply disappointed by this decision, particularly given the overwhelming public comment in opposition and Baker-Hostetler’s history of  defending highly partisan and gerrymandered district maps in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Given this history, Common Cause Michigan is calling on the MICRC to confirm their continued commitment to a fair, transparent, and equitable map drawing process. Additionally, we ask that to the extent possible, lawyers who were personally involved in defending gerrymandered maps in other states are not also personally involved as litigation counsel for the MICRC.   

Of course, any potential litigation will not happen until after the maps are drawn and as the client, the MICRC will be responsible for directing the strategy and tactics that Baker-Hostetler uses to defend the maps. Common Cause Michigan will be closely watching to ensure that this process remains fair and that the final maps fully represent all Michiganders.    

In the meantime, now is the moment for Michigan communities to get engaged with this process and share their stories with the commission! Redistricting works best when mapmakers draw voting district maps in a transparent, fair, and inclusive process that prioritizes hearing from communities who have been historically left out of the redistricting process. This will make our maps more representative and will hold up better should they be challenged in court after the process. You can make your voice heard for fair maps by virtually submitting public testimony using the MICRC’s public comment tool and you can find the schedule of commission meetings on their website.