Ohio Supreme Court invalidates new state Congressional map

Court said the map violated Ohio Constitution
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Posted at 1:36 PM, Jan 14, 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court invalidated the new Congressional reapportionment map that had been approved by the Ohio House and Senate.

In a 4-3 decision, the court majority ruled the new map violated two provisions of Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution against gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the act of drawing political districts to disproportionately favor one party. The court had ruled on Wednesday, Jan. 12 that the new Ohio State Representative map was also unconstitutional.

The new Congressional map was passed in November by the Ohio House and Senate and signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

"No magician's trick can hide what the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates," Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor wrote in her concurring opinion siding with the majority. "The map statistically presents such a partisan advantage that it unduly favors the Republican Party."

O'Connor joined justices O'Connor, Melody Stewart, Jennifer Stewart and Michael Donnelly on the majority. Justices Kennedy, Fischer and DeWine dissented, claiming the Ohio Constitution doesn't define "unduly" or provide any baseline as to what "unduly favors" is to be measured against.

The majority opinion, written by Donnelly said the new map was, "infused with undue partisan bias" and "incomprehensibly more extremely biased than the 2011 plan that it replaced."

In 2018, Ohio Issue 1 was on the statewide ballet, which placed an amendment on the Ohio Constitution changing how the state redrew Congressional districts. The issue passed 74.89 percent to 25.11 percent, and became Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution. Ohio had to redraw its Congressional districts after the 2020 census. Because the state failed to grow as fast as other states, it lost one of its 16 Congressional seats.

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