Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Ohio’s Gerrymandered U.S. Congressional District Map
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Supreme Court of Ohio issued a 4-3 ruling today in the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit challenging Ohio’s U.S. congressional district map, ordering the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly to draw a new map that complies with the Ohio Constitution.
Now, Ohio lawmakers will be sent back to the drawing board to craft a new map within 30 days. If they can’t find a solution, the Ohio Redistricting Commission will have 30 days to do so.
Oral arguments in this case occurred on December 28, 2021. The filing deadline for candidates seeking congressional seats is March 4, 2022, and the primary election is set for May 3, 2022.
“What a week for democracy! For the second time in three days, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a clear and meticulously detailed opinion striking Ohio redistricting plans. Today, the court struck the enacted congressional map for giving Republicans an unconstitutional partisan advantage. The ruling proclaims that ‘gerrymandering is the antithetical perversion of representative democracy,’ and enforces the mandate put forward by Ohio voters in 2018 who demanded an end to this abuse of power,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.
“We thank the high court for rejecting Ohio’s manipulated congressional map and for standing with voters and defending our democracy. We call on the Ohio General Assembly to do what voters and the Ohio Supreme court expect: draw a map that keep communities together and represents the right of every Ohio voter to have fair districts,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
“The Ohio Supreme Court has once again sent the indisputable message that district maps are not to be toyed with or manipulated to the detriment of voters. This is another huge victory for voting rights,” said Julie Ebenstein, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.
“We are so thankful that the Ohio Supreme Court ruled to strike down partisan gerrymandering in both of our lawsuits. We need a new congressional map that will accurately reflect the people of Ohio in Congress,” offered Andre Washington, president of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute.
“The court got it exactly right when it said, ‘When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins. That perhaps explains how a party that generally musters no more than 55 percent of the statewide popular vote is positioned to reliably win anywhere from 75 percent to 80 percent of the seats in the Ohio congressional delegation. By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up.’ We celebrate this precise and correct ruling,” said Robert Fram of Covington & Burling.
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