COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court rejected newly drawn district maps on Wednesday that had retained Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate, agreeing with voting rights advocates that the lines were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.
In a 4-3 decision, the court sent the maps back to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, giving the GOP-led panel 10 days to take another crack at complying with provisions of a 2015 constitutional amendment requiring an attempt at avoiding partisan favoritism.
Moderate Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who at 70 years old must leave the court Dec. 31 due to age limits, provided a pivotal swing vote, joining the court’s three Democrats in a victory for national voting-rights and Democratic groups.
Ohio and other states were required to redraw their congressional maps to reflect results of the 2020 census, under which Ohio lost one of its current 16 districts due to lagging population. The plan sprinted through the Ohio Statehouse last month and passed without Democratic support. It was signed days later by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, whose son, Pat, is one of four GOP justices on the seven-member court.