Michigan Republicans, Republican-Fail — March 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Michigan Court of Appeals smacks down Republicans


Nice try, jerks

Last month I wrote about how my favorite judge, William Collette, had found Republican redistricting in Oakland County to be unconstitutional:

An Ingham County judge on Wednesday struck down a controversial state law that changed the way Oakland County’s commissioner districts are drawn.

Judge William Collette said the law was unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs hailed the striking down of what they described as a “Republican power grab.” Lawyers for Gov. Rick Snyder, a defendant, said an appeal is likely.

Collette ruled the law, Public Act 280, should have received a two-thirds majority vote because it dealt with a local matter; violated the Headlee Amendment against unfunded mandates, and impinged on the rights of county voters to petition for judicial review of their reapportionment plan.

The law was signed by Snyder in December after the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected a GOP challenge to a redistricting plan drawn up by a Democratic-controlled Oakland County Apportionment Commission.

It reduced the commission from 25 to 21 members and turned redistricting over to the Republican-controlled county commission.

This week, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Collette in a 2:1 vote.
Although they only upheld one of the three reasons Judge Collette cited in his ruling, it’s enough to put the number of commissioners back at 25 until after the next census and restores a Democratic majority.

A three-judge appellate panel ruled 2-1 today to deny requests by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners to reverse the Feb. 15 court ruling and reinstate Public Act 280 of 2011. Appeals Judge Patrick Meter dissented from the majority and found PA 280 to be constitutional.

But the majority upheld only one of Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette’s three objections to the new state law — and said that objection comes down to just one sentence in the act.

“We affirm the (finding of) unconstitutionality of the first sentence of (PA 280) as an improperly enacted local act,” the court majority said. “However, we do not agree that the remaining provisions of the act are invalid on the same basis.”

But the ruling adds that “the practical effect of our decision today is to permit Oakland County to retain its current level of commissioners and its current apportionment” until after the next census.

Jerks right up until the end, the Republicans are already prepared to appeal it in the state Supreme Court.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who pushed the legislation, said the ruling will be appealed.

“We’ve already got the brief written,” he said, noting the appeals court panel was stacked with Democrats. “This was no surprise to us. Now we’ll take it to the Supreme Court and see what happens there.”