Steve Mazie for the Economist.
Yet the difficulty of replicating Michigan’s transition in most other states is a hard reality. And the Wolverine state’s success is allowing some justices to believe that the courts can sit back and let democracy take its course. Ms Fahy bristles when she hears this. But she and activists in other states with independent commissions may have more disappointments ahead. In 2015, a redistricting commission in Arizona barely survived a constitutional challenge at the Supreme Court. The decision was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and clinched by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who left the bench last summer. Chief Justice John Roberts’s dissent accused the majority of “deliberate constitutional evasion”: Article I empowers only state legislatures to draw electoral lines, he wrote. With a more conservative Justice Kavanaugh now in Justice Kennedy’s seat, and the pointed dissenter in the Arizona case now the swing justice, independent commissions—and America’s electoral democracy—remain vulnerable.