An historic election law decision by Michigan's Supreme Court handed Fraser Trebilcock client Voters Not Politicians ("VNP") a decisive win, placing VNP's proposal to amend Michigan's State Constitution on the November ballot. The case established a new rule of law of Michigan constitutional law governing legal challenges to citizen initiatives to amend the state Constitution.
The Supreme Court ruling (view entire opinion here) established that the VNP proposal seeks an amendment, and not a general revision, to the Constitution, and is thus properly subject to voter approval rather than a full constitutional convention. In a rapid series of appellate court decisions culminating in and following the Michigan Supreme Court ruling, Fraser attorneys succeeded in obtaining back-to-back extraordinary writs of mandamus, ultimately requiring the Board of Canvassers and Director of Elections to complete their remaining work by August 31. Those officials then met and designated VNP as "Proposal 2" on the ballot.
Voters Not Politicians secured over 425,000 valid signatures through an all-volunteer petition drive. Proposal 2 would create a citizens' redistricting commission to draw the state's congressional and legislative boundaries without favor to any political party, candidate or official, and is designed to end a practice known in both major political parties as "gerrymandering".
A bipartisan majority opinion established a new standard for a constitutional "amendment" and both rebuked the partisan challenge to VNP's proposal, stating: "[The proposal] would leave both the form and structure of state government basically as it was... so it does not equate to a 'new constitution.'" Justice David Viviano was joined in the opinion by Justices Bridget McCormack, Richard Bernstein, and Elizabeth Clement.
"This ruling reaffirms that all government power in Michigan flows from the people, and that the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government are all subject to our Constitution, as established by Michigan voters, not politicians," said VNP General Counsel James Lancaster.