National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Michigan Supreme Court orders redistricting panel to release memos, video of private meeting

The Michigan Supreme Court on Dec. 20, 2021, ordered the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to release a recording of an October 2021 private meeting and to release memos that the Commission sought to keep under wraps. The Commission’s attorneys claimed the memos should be concealed because of attorney-client privilege.

The Michigan Press Association and three Michigan news organizations — Bridge, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press — sued the Commission. Michigan voters in 2018 amended the state’s constitution to create the Commission, intending to replace the state’s closed-door and partisan process for drawing legislative boundaries with a process that involved public participation and transparency.

“The voters in 2018 changed the process for redistricting in Michigan. In doing so, they established numerous safeguards to ensure that the new process would be transparent,” wrote Justice David Viviano. “Today, we enforce two of those provisions against the Commission’s attempt to operate outside of public view.”