The Ohio Supreme Court rejected a proposed new legislative map for the fourth time on Thursday after mapmakers repeatedly failed to comply with rules against gerrymandering, NBC News reports.
The court ruled 4-3 to reject the latest map and gave the Republican-led Ohio Redistricting Commission until May 6 to produce yet another map.
The new date is three days after the state was initially scheduled to hold its legislative primaries.
Election officials had argued that a map must be in place this week to hold primary elections in August but the justices argued that the timeline was “speculative” and would not force them to accept the rejected map.
Commission goes back to the drawing board:
The Republican-dominated commission initially appeared to want to run out the clock and force the court to accept their map.
But the court rejected the commission’s first three attempts and threatened to hold members in contempt.
The commission then hired independent mapmakers for $100,000.
But the mapmakers struggled to meet the court-ordered deadline and the Republican members of the commission passed their own set of maps drawn by GOP staffers.
“What began as a 'historic' process devolved into the same one-sided partisan map-drawing process that led us to invalidate the previous three plans,” the majority opinion.
Republican majority disagrees:
Three Republican justices dissented, arguing that the orders were an overreach.
“We are stuck in a time loop, like the characters in the movie Groundhog Day,” Justice Sharon Kennedy wrote in a dissenting opinion. “The majority’s continued denial of the limitation of this court’s power may end up costing the taxpayers millions of dollars.”
But Democratic Justice Michael Donnelly said it was the commission that was wasting time and money.
"Just when the independent map drawers were perilously close to showing that the difficult was achievable," he wrote, "the commission’s majority-party members summarily pulled the plug on that process."