SR6, As Adopted by Senate, January 23, 2019
Senator Horn offered the following resolution:
Senate Resolution No. 6.
A resolution to authorize the Senate Majority Leader to engage counsel to file a motion on behalf of the Senate to intervene in League of Women Voters of Michigan, et al v. Jocelyn Benson.
Whereas, On August 9, 2011, following the 2010 Census, then-Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Acts 128 and 129 of 2011. These acts collectively provided for the redistricting of congressional and state legislative districts, as required by the U.S. and Michigan constitutions and in accordance with state law. Specifically, Public Act 129 of 2011, which passed both chambers of the Legislature with bipartisan support, provided for the redistricting of the Michigan House of Representatives and the Senate; and
Whereas, On December 22, 2017, the League of Women Voters of Michigan and other named individuals filed an action against the Secretary of State, in her official capacity, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Case No. 2:17-cv-14148, contending that the congressional and state legislative district maps are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution; and
Whereas, Following the filing of the action, then-Secretary of State Ruth Johnson engaged in a vigorous defense of Public Acts 128 and 129 of 2011, including the filing of multiple motions to dismiss the lawsuit and for summary judgement. On November 6, 2018, the people of Michigan elected Jocelyn Benson as Secretary of State, succeeding Secretary of State Johnson on January 1, 2019; and
Whereas, On January 17, 2019, Secretary of State Benson, through newly appointed counsel, filed a motion to stay the proceedings. In the motion, the Secretary of State expressed a desire to settle the matter with the plaintiffs, presumably by agreeing to allow for the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts for the 2020 elections, including potentially calling for a special state Senate election in 2020. The filing of such a motion, together with media reports indicating a desire by the Secretary of State to adopt a new apportionment plan for the 2020 election, effectively ended the adversarial role of the Secretary of State and its meaningful participation in and defense of this matter; and
Whereas, Individual members of Congress and the Michigan House of Representatives previously filed motions to intervene as defendants and those motions were ultimately granted; and
Whereas, Members of the Michigan Senate now have an additional interest in this matter, as the proposed settlement could include a requirement that the Michigan Senate be subject to a special election in 2020 in violation of Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963, which provides:
The senate shall consist of 38 members to be elected from single member districts at the same election as the governor for four-year terms concurrent with the term of office of the governor.
Whereas, On January 22, 2019, three current members of the Senate filed a motion to intervene in order to help fill the adversarial void and defend against claims raised by plaintiffs and to protect the interests of the Senate and its members who are elected to represent the people of Michigan; and
Whereas, The Senate must seek to intervene in this case in order to defend its unique role in Michigan's constitutional system. Permitting the court to consider a mid-term special Senate election without hearing meaningful opposition would greatly harm operation of this legislative body and the ability of its members to carry out the duties of their office, including representing members of the public; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate, That the Senate Majority Leader is authorized to engage counsel to file a motion on behalf of the Senate to intervene in League of Women Voters of Michigan, et al v. Jocelyn Benson (2:17-cv-14148) and take all necessary steps incidental thereto, including, but not limited to, the pursuit or defense of any appeals.