Ohio Republicans Newly Drawn Congressional Map Rejected by State Supreme Court

Republican lawmakers in Ohio are back to the drawing board after a Friday decision by the state’s high court rejecting their congressional district map.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Ohio General Assembly has been returned a congressional map drawn by Republicans after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled with Democrats on the fairness of the districts.
  • According to AP News, Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of Congress and the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
  • Lawmakers now have 60 days to draw new districts that adhere to relatively new state constitutional changes with rules against gerrymandering.
  • Ohio and several other states are required to redraw their congressional maps in response to the 2020 census details, which resulted in Ohio losing one of its 16 congressional districts.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court’s three Democrat justices were joined by its moderate Republican, Chief Justice Maureen O’Conner, to create the majority that rejected the congressional map.
WHAT THE COURT SAID:
  • Writing for the majority, Justice Michael Donnelly wrote, ”[T]he evidence in these cases makes clear beyond all doubt that the General Assembly did not heed the clarion call sent by Ohio voters to stop political gerrymandering.”
  • The court’s three other Republicans said in their dissent that, “When the majority says that the plan unduly favors the Republican Party, what it means is that the plan unduly favors the Republican Party as compared to the results that would be obtained if we followed a system of proportional representation.
  • O’Connor wrote a separate opinion saying, “The dissenting opinion’s dismissive characterization of all the metrics used by petitioners’ experts as simply being measures of ‘proportional representation’ is sleight of hand.” “No magician’s trick can hide what the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates: the map statistically presents such a partisan advantage that it unduly favors the Republican Party.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The districting of congressional areas is something that has traditionally had a longstanding impact on the makeup of the United States House of Representatives, and could deeply impact national policy, as NBC outlined.
  • Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama and several other states are redrawing their congressional district lines following new population data from the 2020 census.