Ohio Supreme Court Rejects District Maps – Again | News, Sports, Jobs

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday rejected a second set of Ohio Statehouse district maps that retained strong Republican majorities as gerrymandered — and sent them back for a third try.

In another 4-3 decision, the High Court found that the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission’s second attempt to draw the maps again failed to pass the constitutional rally. No Democrats supported either plan.

Moderate Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who at 70 must leave the court on December 31 due to age restrictions, again provided a decisive vote, joining the three Democrats on the court.

In another victory for suffrage and Democratic groups, the court gave the redistricting commission 10 days – until February 17 – to pass a constitutional map. How that will happen remains unclear. The Republican-dominated panel has already failed twice to reach bipartisan consensus despite looming legal threats.

“Once again, the Supreme Court of Ohio stands with voters in demanding that the Ohio Redistricting Commission do its job: create great maps that serve the people of Ohio, not the people of Ohio. partisan interests,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, one of the groups that filed the complaint.

The majority sharply criticized Republicans on the commission who said they decided to start with the original invalidated map “because time was running out and they knew about it.”

“We clearly invalidated the entire original plan in (the earlier ruling),” the majority opinion said. “The commission’s choice to nevertheless start with this plan and modify it as little as possible amounts to an intention to preserve as much partisan patronage as possible from the invalidated plan.”

Two dissenting justices, Sharon Kennedy and Pat DeWine, disagreed that the new card was unconstitutional – and criticized the new 10-day deadline.

“It is obvious that in defiance of constitutional standards, four members of this court have now commandeered the redistricting process and will continue to reject any district plan from the General Assembly until they get the plan. they want,” they wrote.


In the Mahoning Valley, the second map follows exactly the same legislative lines as the first, rejected by the court.

In Trumbull County, the 64th Ohio House District would be a safe Democratic neighborhood comprising the towns of Warren, Niles, Girard and Hubbard as well as the village of McDonald and the townships of Liberty, Weathersfield, Howland and Vienna.

House’s other district, 65th, would be a solid Republican along with the rest of Trumbull County and more than half of Portage County.

Warren Township is divided between the two House Districts.

The 32nd Senate District, which leans Republican, includes all of Trumbull and Portage counties. The district is currently represented by State Senator Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox, who is not re-elected until 2024. She lives in Ashtabula County, but would represent Trumbull and Portage counties for at least the remainder of his term. term.

It maintains Ohio House’s 58th District as a strong Democratic district and includes all of Youngstown, Austintown, Struthers, Lowellville, Campbell, and Coitsville.

The 59th District is a solid Republican and includes the rest of Mahoning County as well as the Columbiana County townships of Knox, Butler, and West.

The 33rd Senate District includes all of Mahoning, Columbiana, and Carroll counties and is Republican.

A combination of Republican foot-dragging and legal wrangling has now extended a process that was supposed to be completed last fall until the 2022 primary season. The deadline for submitting legislative candidates passed last week.

Ohioans overwhelmingly supported a 2015 constitutional amendment that instructed the committee to at least try to avoid partisan patronage and proportionally distribute districts to reflect Ohio’s 54% Republican, 46% Democrat split. .

O’Connor also joined Democrats in court rulings against the first set of legislative maps and against the state’s congressional district map, both of which were ruled unconstitutional. On January 14, the court also ordered that the congressional map be redrawn, giving lawmakers 30 days and, if they fail, returning the reins to the seven-member redistricting committee. This process should begin this week.

The string of defeats for ruling Republicans in Ohio comes amid the mapping process that states must undertake once a decade to reflect changes in U.S. census demographics.

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