Ohio Supreme Court Rejects GOP-Gerrymandered Congressional Maps For Third Time
The Ohio Supreme Court rejected the third effort of state House and Senate maps drawn by state Republicans in a 4-3 decision.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a moderate conservative, sided with the Democrats in the ruling, saying the map hindered the Democratic Party and did not reflect the state’s 54% Republican to 46% Democrat ratio.
The court’s decision voiced concern that each of the three maps had been drawn solely by Republican members.
“The commission should retain an independent map drawer – who answers to all commission members, not only to the Republican legislative leaders – to draft a plan through a transparent process,” the court’s decision suggested.
The once-per-decade redistricting process, which was slated to be completed by last fall, is supposed to allow for changes to reflect demographic shifts.
“Resolving this self-created chaos thus depends not on the number of hands on the computer mouse but, rather, on the political will to honor the people’s call to end partisan gerrymandering,” the decision added.
The decision sends the maps back to the Ohio Redistricting Commission and orders them to submit a fourth plan by March 29.
Two of the dissenting justices, Republicans Sharon Kennedy and Pat DeWine, argued that the decision was an “exercise of raw political power,” because now the state will have to split or delay the primary races that were supposed to be held on May 3.
“The majority decrees electoral chaos,” they argued. “It issues an order all but guaranteed to disrupt an impending election and bring Ohio to the brink of a constitutional crisis.”