(3-17-22) A third set of Ohio House and Senate district maps has been ruled unconstitutional for the third time by the Supreme Court of Ohio, which ordered the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission to reconvene and adopt new General Assembly maps. The rejection could delay the statewide primary elections and it still puts on hold some candidates knowing what district they might be running for and who they will run against.
In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court emphasized that Article XI, Section 1(C) of the Ohio Constitution provides: “The commission shall draft the proposed plan in the manner prescribed in this article.” (Emphasis added.)
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Michael P. Donnelly, Melody Stewart, and Jennifer Brunner joined the majority opinion.
The Court stated that the commission has adopted three plans so far, but it still has not drafted one. The seven-member commission must draft the maps rather than adopt maps that have been drafted solely by the Republican leaders of the Ohio House and Senate without consideration or participation from the Democratic members of the commission.
In a per curiam opinion, the Court majority stated that the “nearly exclusive control over the first two rounds of map drawing was strong evidence of partisan intent” to favor the Republicans and disfavor Democrats in the drawing of legislative districts.
The commission has until March 28 to file a plan with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and until 9 a.m., March 29 to file a copy with the Court.