The Ohio Supreme Court for the third time rejected legislative maps drawn by Republican state officials on Wednesday, The New York Times reports.
A bipartisan majority on the state Supreme Court rejected another proposed map from the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission. The decision is likely to delay the state’s May 3 primaries until the court approves new legislative and congressional maps.
Three justices on the seven-member court issued a dissent, claiming that the decision “decrees electoral chaos” by upending the election schedule.
But the majority opinion, written by Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, said the redistricting commission had created chaos by repeatedly proposing maps that violated the state’s Constitutional requirement for partisan fairness.
Court calls commission’s bluff:
Experts say the Redistricting Commission bet that the court would be forced to approve its maps to avoid disrupting statewide elections.
“There’s this attitude that ‘if we can’t get our way with the court, we’re going to try to run out the clock on them,’” attorney Paul De Marco told the Times.
But the court effectively called the commission’s bluff.
“This court is not a rubber stamp,” Democratic Justice Jennifer Brunner wrote in a concurring opinion. “By interpreting and enforcing the requirements of the Ohio Constitution, we do not create chaos or a constitutional crisis — we work to promote the trust of Ohio’s voters in the redistricting of Ohio’s legislative districts.”
Congressional map too:
The state Supreme Court is also in a standoff with the commission over its proposed congressional map, which it rejected in January over partisan bias.
The fight over the maps could end up in federal court, where Republicans have asked an appellate court to consider imposing the banned maps so that the elections can proceed as scheduled.
A three-judge panel on Monday declined to impose the maps, noting that the state Supreme Court was still reviewing the case.
But Clinton-appointed Judge Algenon Marbley suggested the federal court would step in if there are “serious doubts that state processes will produce a state map in time for the primary election.”