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Daunt v. Benson

15 individuals are challenging the eligibility requirements for the state’s citizen redistricting commission under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Last Updated: May 14, 2020
Published: August 13, 2019

Case Background

On July 30, 2019, 15 individuals filed a federal lawsuit challenging the eligibility requirements for the state’s independent redistricting commission under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiffs, who each fall into one or more of the eight categories of people excluded by law from serving on the commission, argue that the eligibility requirements require them to refrain from constitutionally protected activities, in violation of their First Amendment rights to free speech and association. Plaintiffs also claim that the eligibility requirements violate their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment because, among other things, the requirements deny them an opportunity to serve on the commission as a result of their political activity.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the commission unconstitutional and block the Michigan Secretary of State from moving forward with the commissioner selection process.

On July 30, the plaintiffs also filed a motion for preliminary injunction, requesting the court halt commission-related proceedings while litigation is pending.

On August 28, the court allowed Voters Not Politicians, the group that sponsored the proposal to create the independent redistricting commission, to intervene as defendants. 

On September 11, the court granted Michigan Secretary of State Benson’s motion to consolidate the case with Michigan Republican Party v. Benson, another case challenging the constitutionality of the commission.

On November 25, the court denied the plaintiffs' motions for a preliminary injunction. On November 26, the Daunt plaintiffs appealed that decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Oral argument took place via telephone on March 17, 2020. On April 15, 2020, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision to deny the motions for preliminary injunctions. On May 13, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a petition with the Sixth Circuit for rehearing en banc.


District Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit