Rick Snyder — January 6, 2012 at 7:53 am

Governor Rick Snyder sued by ACLU and the Oakland County Democratic Party


[UPDATE: I have corrected this post to indicate that the Oakland County Democrats are the ones suing Governor Snyder over the redistricting there, not the Michigan Democratic Party as I initially (and incorrectly) wrote.]

Governor Rick Snyder is facing two impending lawsuits. One is from the ACLU over new law prohibiting health insurance benefits for to same-sex partners of public employees. The other is from the Michigan Oakland County Democratic Party over a recent redistricting of Oakland County.

The ACLU’s suit challenges the new ban on same-sex partner benefits as “wrong, discriminatory, and unconstitutional” because its impact is limited only to same-sexcouples.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is suing Governor Snyder over the state’s new law banning domestic partner benefits.

Snyder signed the controversial law just before Christmas.

It prohibits school districts, counties and other public employers from extending health insurance coverage to employees’ unmarried domestic partners. State universities are exempted. […]

The ACLU says the ban is “wrong, discriminatory, and unconstitutional” because it singles out gays and lesbians.

“This law serves no purpose other than to single out a small minority of people, and deprive them of critical protections that are available to all other family members,” says ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan.

A federal Appeals Court struck down a similar Arizona law recently.

More on this at the Detroit Free Press.

Adding… Jack Lessenberry predicts this will end up costing the state more in legal fees fighting lawsuits lie this than it will save by denying the handful of people who would receive coverage as a same-sex partner of a public employee. Irony comma knee-deep.

The Michigan Oakland County Democratic Party is suing Governor Snyder over a recent redistricting move by Republicans in Oakland County. This redistricting is the most blatant power grab by Republicans that I have ever seen in Michigan.

Oakland County Democrats sued Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday in Ingham County Circuit Court in an effort to block a new state law that reduces the number of Oakland County commissioners and gives the commission — which has a Republican majority — that authority to redraw the district lines. […]

For the first time, Democrats held a majority on the Reapportionment Commission, which is comprised of the Oakland County Prosecutor, Treasurer and Clerk and the heads of the county Democratic and Republican parties.

Republicans didn’t like the map and challenged it in the state Court of Appeals. An appeals panel upheld the map, however. Coincidentally, the Michigan Supreme Court denied last week an appeal by Republicans of the original maps drawn by the Democratic majority on the Reapportionment Commission because it didn’t meet the 30-day appeals deadline.

But the Legislature passed a law last month that would reduce the number of commissioners from 25 to 21 and have the Oakland County commission — which has a 15-10 Republican majority — redraw the districts.

Republicans touted the change as a $250,000 annual cost savings for the county. But Democrats called it a blatant power grab by Republicans who decided to change the rules when they didn’t suit their partisan goals.

Oakland County Democrats Chair Frank Houston calls the move unconstitutional.

“If there’s anything dealing with a local form of government, and only one government in the state, it requires a 2/3 vote of the legislature,” Houston says. “It didn’t get it, and it’s obviously a Lansing overstep…so it’s out of line, and it’s unconstitutional.”

Houston says retroactively changing the map, which was upheld in the Michigan Court of Appeals, amounts to an assault on democracy.

“And I think the court of public opinion also rejects the partisan oversteps of either party, when they seek to undo redistricting laws and court decisions after they’ve happened,” he adds.

If Republican go ahead with their plans to institute mandatory drug testing on welfare recipients, Snyder may find himself in yet another lawsuit before long.