Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Fourth Set of Redistricting Plans

April 15, 2022 by Dan McCue
Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Fourth Set of Redistricting Plans
Mapmakers in Ohio work on new district maps. (Ohio Government television)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a fourth set of redistricting plans drafted by the state’s redistricting commission, but left the panel with the responsibility of redrawing the maps at least one more time.

In its divided, 4-3 ruling, the court lauded the Ohio Redistricting Commissions attempt to follow its directions after the last set of district maps were rejected, but the majority said state Senate Republicans upended the process by failing to wait for independent mapmakers to do their work.

As previously reported by The Well News, after the previous set of maps was rejected on the grounds that they were unlawfully politically gerrymandered, the court advised the commission to hire independent cartographers and to give them each a “neutral” set of instructions.

The Republicans on the redistricting commission hired Dr. Douglas Johnson as their mapmaker, while the Democrats chose Dr. Michael McDonald.

In the spirit of transparency, the commission also partnered with the Ohio Channel to set up a room with cameras showing Johnson and McDonald working, and the computers on which they were collecting data and drawing district lines.

But just as the two mapmakers were close to completing their work, Senate President Matt Huffman, a member of the commission, intervened, arguing that because a court-ordered March 28 deadline for submitting the maps was fast approaching, there would be no time for commission members to change or offer their input on the maps.

Huffman said in light of the time constraints, the best course would be to offer the court a slightly revised version of a previous map, this one drafted by a state House Republican staffer.

According to the majority of justices on the court, the staffer, Blake Springhetti did so, producing the latest map in a single afternoon.

“The timeline of events demonstrates convincingly that the commission — or at least some members of the commission — when faced with one or more plans that closely matched constitutional requirements in the form of McDonald’s and Johnson’s plans, reverted to partisan considerations when time was running short, even though the potential for successful completion was high,” the majority justices wrote.

“Particularly problematic,” the justices said, was Huffman’s insistence that the mapmakers consider the addresses of incumbent House and Senate members in their district drawing, which the court said “pulled the rug out from under the independent map drawers.”

The Redistricting Commission now has until May 6 to come up with an entirely new plan.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

A+
a-
  • Ohio
  • Ohio Supreme Court
  • redistricting
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    In The States

    February 27, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Energy Department to Award $366M to Projects in Tribal, Rural Communities

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced it is awarding $366 million to 17 projects intended to... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced it is awarding $366 million to 17 projects intended to bring power and much-needed clean energy upgrades to rural and remote areas across the country. Of the projects, a dozen will be undertaken on tribal lands... Read More

    Ohio Commission Awards Bids to Frack Oil and Gas Under State Parks, Wildlife Areas

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio commission awarded bids to frack oil and gas under state parks Monday, despite statewide... Read More

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio commission awarded bids to frack oil and gas under state parks Monday, despite statewide backlash and an ongoing investigation into possibly fraudulent support. The Ohio Oil and Gas Land Management Commission granted the mineral rights to several oil and gas... Read More

    Facing Backlash Over IVF Ruling, Alabama Lawmakers Look for a Fix

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawmakers began scrambling for ways to protect Alabama in vitro fertilization services after multiple providers paused treatment in... Read More

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawmakers began scrambling for ways to protect Alabama in vitro fertilization services after multiple providers paused treatment in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos could be considered children under a state law. Facing a wave of shock and anger... Read More

    February 25, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Trump Wins South Carolina Primary, Haley Outperforms Polls

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump soundly defeated former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the state Republican presidential... Read More

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump soundly defeated former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the state Republican presidential primary on Saturday, but she vowed to fight on and planned to be in Michigan, the next state going to the polls, on Sunday. In the... Read More

    February 23, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Haley Campaign Doubles Down With Seven-Figure Super Tuesday Ad Buy

    CHARLESTON, S.C — Despite predictions of a potential double-digit loss in her home state, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley... Read More

    CHARLESTON, S.C — Despite predictions of a potential double-digit loss in her home state, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is showing no signs of throwing in the towel on her quest for the Republican presidential nomination anytime soon. On Friday, one day before South Carolinians... Read More

    Some Republicans Voicing Doubt Over Alabama IVF Ruling. Democrats See an Opportunity

    Some Republicans joined Democrats in expressing alarm over a ruling this week by the Alabama Supreme Court that jeopardized future access to... Read More

    Some Republicans joined Democrats in expressing alarm over a ruling this week by the Alabama Supreme Court that jeopardized future access to in vitro fertilization, giving allies of President Joe Biden new fuel for their efforts to center abortion access in the presidential election. “We’ve got to talk... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top