GOP loses lawsuit claiming they have a constitutional right to gerrymander Michigan
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Screen cap).

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit from the Michigan GOP claiming that a newly-created independent redistricting commission violates their constitutional rights.

In Michigan Republican Party v. Benson, the Sixth Circuit rejected the GOP's argument, and will not block the commission from proceeding.

The commission was created as part of a voter referendum in 2018. It has some of the strongest anti-conflict of interest rules of any such commission in the country; in addition to strict requirements that Democrats, Republicans, and independents be represented, it bars current and recent elected officials, political party officials, lobbyists, or their relatives from serving on the panel.

The GOP argued that these rules violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments, by restricting freedom of association. Several voting rights groups, including Common Cause and the Brennan Center for Justice, sided with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in defending against the lawsuit.

Republicans heavily gerrymandered Michigan after the 2010 midterm election solidified their power over the state. Leaked emails showed party officials boasting that their map would pack "Dem garbage" into a small handful of districts in the southeast.