DETROIT (AP) – A clash over Michigan’s Constitution hit the state’s highest court on Monday as a committee set to attract seats for Congress and the Legislature called for new deadlines to produce cards due a delay in detailed census data.
The request prompted sharp questions from the court’s two most conservative justices, Brian Zahra and David Viviano, who appeared reluctant to change the dates written into the constitution by voters just a few years ago.
READ MORE: Michigan Questions: Politics, Afghanistan and Business
New district maps must be adopted by November 1 after a 45-day period for public comment, according to a constitutional amendment approved in 2018. The commission does not wait for final census data until September 30 in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The commission acknowledged that some census data will be available by August, but it does not favor these numbers and believes they may not be reliable.
“Why are we here? For transparency and goodwill.… The public and the commission have been placed in an untenable position,” said Julianne Pastula, commission counsel.
She told the Supreme Court that legal cover is needed in case the deadlines are not met and prosecution is considered. Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is also in favor of new dates.
Justice Richard Bernstein, a Democrat-appointed judge, suggested the new deadlines were not a big deal, especially after a pandemic.
READ MORE: United States extends non-essential travel with Canada and Mexico
“Why can’t we just get this one right?” ” he said.
But Viviano and Zahra, both Republican-appointed judges, have repeatedly questioned the court’s role in the case. Viviano suggested it could turn out to be a big blow to democracy.
“Isn’t the question who does it right?” He said after Bernstein’s remark. “Was it the people when they adopted this amendment, did they understand it correctly? Or they got it wrong and we’ll get it right. And then we are no longer a democracy, are we?
“We don’t care what they say because we’re wiser and we’re going to get it right,” Viviano continued. “So we’re just going to rewrite the constitution, a little here and a little there until we get it right. This august body will take over from the people.
The redistribution commission was approved by voters to remove mapping from the hands of lawmakers and the governor. Four are aligned with the Democratic Party, four with the Republican Party and five without a party.
NO MORE NEWS: Hundreds protest against Genesse County mask warrant for students
© 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.