Drawing the Line: Chamberlin discusses redistricting with Bridge Magazine

May 3, 2019

District lines are a hotly debated and inherently partisan issue, but Michigan courts have sought to address these biases. On Thursday, April 25, Michigan judges unanimously ruled that “GOP insiders illegally gerrymandered dozens of state and congressional districts throughout Michigan.” This means that Michigan legislators have to redraw voting district lines, for the first time since 2011. On April 28, 2019, Riley Beggin of Bridge Magazine published “To fix maps, Michigan Republicans must please Whitmer and three irked judges,” discussing the potential aftermath of such efforts with people like Ford Professor John Chamberlin.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in, Republican lawmakers are being watched as they move forward to redraw maps that pass partisan politics. And with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer watching, there will have to be some real aisle-crossing conversations. Chamberlin suspects that legislators will “rely on consultants that have long provided political insight” rather than advocacy groups or nonpartisan advisors. Chamberlin goes on to say “I don’t know if either party would reach out to someone they thought was neutral. They will, I presume, go to the usual folks they go to on these questions but say, ‘Try to be reasonable this time, and don’t send us any emails about what’s going on.’”

Whatever happens, it will have to be quick. Lawmakers only have three months to produce new maps, making this a highly time-sensitive issue.

Read the full article here.

John R. Chamberlin is a professor emeritus of political science and public policy, having taught at the Ford school. He was the director of the Ford School's BA in Public Policy program from 2007-2011 and the director of U-M's Center for Ethics in Public Life from 2008-2011.