On Wednesday, January 12th, in a major victory for voting rights advocates and Democrats who had challenged the maps as unconstitutionally gerrymandered, the Ohio Supreme Court declared the Ohio legislative district maps as invalid in a 4-3 decision.
The court concluded the maps are invalid because the Ohio Redistricting Commission – consisting of a majority of four republicans including Governor Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Auditor Keith Faber – did not attempt to draw the legislative districts to correspond with the statewide voter preferences of Ohioans who voted overwhelmingly to overhaul the redistricting process twice.
The republican leaders of the House and Senate had argued the new provisions in the Ohio Constitution requiring districts to reflect the statewide voting preferences were optional. The court disagreed. In the majority opinion written by Justice Melody J. Stewart: “…when drawing a district plan, the commission must attempt to meet the standards set forth in Section 6.” In addition, the majority opinion stated the commission violated Article XI, Section 6(A) that says no plan shall be drawn primarily to favor a political party.
The court ordered the commission to redraw the districts for the 99 House seats and 33 Senate seats within ten days that conform to the Ohio Constitution. In addition, the court retained jurisdiction “to review the plan that the commission adopts for compliance with our order.”
The majority opinion consisted of Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Justice Melody J. Stewart, Justice Michael P. Donnelly, Justice Jennifer Brunner.
The dissenting justices were Sharon L. Kennedy, Patrick F. Fischer and Patrick DeWine who is the son of Governor Mike DeWine who is a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
For more information, please read:
- Ohio Supreme Court rejects GOP’s newly drawn district maps, orders fix in 10 days | nbcnews.com | 1.12.2022