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Judge Rules Against Oakland County Redistricting Plan

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he expects the Ingham Circuit Court ruling to be overturned by the state Supreme Court.

The fight over Oakland County redistricting continued Wednesday, as an Ingham Circuit Court judge ruled that a state law which would have allowed Republicans to redraw district lines and reduce the number of county commissioners is unconstitutional.

Judge William Collette ruled the law unconstitutional because it would impose an unfunded mandate for taxpayers who would have to bear the cost of redoing the redistricting, The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday. It also wouldn't provide enough time for review of a new map before candidates had to file by May 15 to run for office.

The bill, which was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in December amid controversy, would reduce the number of Oakland County commissioners from 25 to 21. It also allows the elected commissioners — mostly Republicans — to draw the new county commission districts. The bill quickly passed through the state legislature after the Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling in favor of the five-member Apportionment Commission's 3-2 vote to redraw the maps, a vote which went right down party lines.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement that he expected Collette's ruling, and that he also expects an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"Today’s ruling by the liberal Ingham County Circuit Court is a Pyrrhic victory for the Democrats. Ingham County Circuit Court has a long record of ruling in favor of Democrats, only to be overturned by higher courts," he said.

Thomas Gagne February 16, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Because of an unfunded mandate? The filing deadline would be an interesting reason to delay the implementation, but not rule it unconstitutional. Anyone know where we might read the judge's ruling?
Jeffrey Long February 16, 2012 at 08:38 PM
It's just an attempted consolidation of power. The new lines are designed to decrease the voting influence of democrats, and create 21 republican dominated districts that are drawn without rhyme, but plenty of reason.
ecnalubma February 16, 2012 at 09:28 PM
It's called Gerrymandering.
Brian Clark February 16, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Why do we allow gerrymandering of any representative districts? I don't know too much about the requirements, but I don't see why we should allow any particular party to have control over this process. I've been looking at these sites. The second is interesting--a competition to offer alternatives to the wacky map we officially adopted that has Grosse Pointe paired with Pontiac. http://redistrictingonline.org/redistlawreview.html http://michiganredistricting.org/

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