Ohio Supreme Court Throws Out Republican-Drawn Congressional Map Over “Partisan Bias”

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday threw out a new congressional district map approved by a Republican-led redistricting commission over “partisan bias,” The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The court voted 4-3 to reject the map, with Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor joining the panel’s three Democrats.

The congressional map would have given Republicans as much as a 12-3 advantage in the congressional delegation even though former President Donald Trump only won 53% of the statewide vote in 2020.

The court ruled that the map violated a voter-approved constitutional amendment barring partisan gerrymanders.

"When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins," the majority opinion said.

“The General Assembly produced a plan that is infused with undue partisan bias and that is incomprehensibly more extremely biased than the 2011 plan that it replaced,” the court said.

Legislative maps too:

The ruling came days after the Ohio Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision struck down the commission’s state legislative maps.

Republicans tried to draw maps that would give them nearly 70% of seats even though they only won 54% of statewide races.

“The commission is required to attempt to draw a plan in which the statewide proportion of Republican-leaning districts to Democratic-leaning districts closely corresponds to those percentages,” the majority opinion said. “Section 6 speaks not of desire but of direction: the commission shall attempt to achieve the standards of that section."

"We reject the notion that Ohio voters rallied so strongly behind an anti-gerrymandering amendment to the Ohio Constitution yet believed at the time that the amendment was toothless," the court said.

Now what?

The court gave the redistricting commission 10 days to redraw the legislative maps for the court to review.

Gov. Mike DeWine, who sits on the commission, vowed that the panel will work on revised maps "that are consistent with the Court’s order.”

The court gave lawmakers 30 days to draw new congressional districts.

“This plan defies correction on a simple district-by-district basis. We, therefore, see no recourse but to invalidate the entire congressional-district plan,” the court said.


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