Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down New Congressional Map as Favoring GOP

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Court rules new map violates 2018 ballot measure to curb gerrymandering

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A 4 to 3 decision was handed down by the court’s three Democratic judges, with the consent of the court’s Republican chief justice, while three Republican judges disagreed. A majority found that the new map violated the state’s constitution and rules created through the 2018 ballot measure to prevent gerrymandering.

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The majority said it was clear lawmakers had ignored calls sent by Ohio voters to stop political defection.

Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote in a consensus opinion, “No magician’s trick can hide what the evidence shows: the map statistically presents such a partisan advantage that it favors the Republican Party.”

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A dissenting opinion by three Republican judges stated that a majority declared the maps unconstitutional “without presenting any practical standard of what it means to favor a political party or divide a county.” “

A bill outlining the map of the new congressional district was passed by Republican state lawmakers in November without any support from Democrats. Within 10 days after Republican Governor Mike Devine signed the bill, two groups, including individual voters and Ohio’s League of Women Voters, filed lawsuits challenging it.

Because it passed without any support from the minority party, the Congress map would be for four years instead of 10 years if passed with bipartisan support.

A court majority found that the new map violated state law, favored by the Republican Party and improperly divided by counties. Ohio lost one seat in Congress after the 2020 census, and 12 seats are currently held by Republicans and four by Democrats.

The majority’s opinion relied on expert testimony that found that Hamilton, Cuyahoga and Summit counties were incorrectly divided, and that the map had packed Democrats into metropolitan areas and oddly shaped surrounding villages. was associated with areas that would favor the Republicans.

“The inevitable conclusion is that they are the product of an effort to pack and crack Democratic voters, resulting in more secure Republican districts or competitive districts favoring Republican Party candidates,” the majority opinion said.

Jane Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, praised the decision. “The people of Ohio deserve the districts that have been built for them, rather than the short-sighted interests of politicians and parties,” she said.

Earlier this week, the court ruled that even new maps outlining Ohio legislative districts were unconstitutional.

Mr Devin said in a statement that he expected the maps to be prosecuted, and that he would work with other members of the redistribution commission to “revise maps that are in line with court orders.”

Write Chris Maher at [email protected]

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