The Supreme Court, in another defeat for gerrymandering reformers, overturned a lower court’s ruling that Michigan’s electoral districts are overly partisan and need to be redrawn.
Monday’s order follows a June decision from the nation’s top court that found that questions over partisan gerrymandering are not under the jurisdiction of federal courts.
The new order returns the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. A three-judge panel in that court had ruled that 34 state legislature and congressional districts needed to be redrawn because they were designed to favor Republicans.
The League of Women Voters and a group of Michigan voters had argued that GOP officials in the state had “engaged in a concerted effort to redraw district lines to benefit Republican candidates while disadvantaging their opponents.”
The three-judge district court panel agreed, writing, “Federal courts’ failure to protect marginalized voters’ constitutional rights will only increase the citizenry’s growing disenchantment with, and disillusionment in, our democracy, further weaken our democratic institutions, and threaten the credibility of the judicial branch.”
The case had been put on hold by the Supreme Court as it considered similar challenges in Maryland and North Carolina, which led to the sweeping decision earlier this year and all but guaranteed that the challenge in Michigan would fail.
–Updated at 12:10 p.m.