Loading...

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 dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

In The News

Health

Voting

In The States

July 1, 2022
by Reece Nations
Gun Bill a No-Show at New York Legislature, New Special Session Convened

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York lawmakers’ plans to cast votes on concealed carry gun legislation Thursday were delayed for hours... Read More

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York lawmakers’ plans to cast votes on concealed carry gun legislation Thursday were delayed for hours by surprise negotiations on the extension of mayoral control of public education and an amendment to the state constitution to protect abortion rights. When Democratic Gov.... Read More

June 30, 2022
by Dan McCue
Supreme Court to Hear Case on State Authority Over Elections

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear an appeal from North Carolina Republicans that could ultimately remove... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear an appeal from North Carolina Republicans that could ultimately remove state court authority over congressional redistricting.  If they decide for the petitioners in Moore v. Harper, the justices would dramatically limit when state courts could intervene,... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Dan McCue
Matthews Wins Runoff to Challenge Incumbent Sen. Tim Scott

COLUMBIA, S.C. — S.C. Democratic state Rep. Krystle Matthews has won the Democratic primary runoff in South Carolina and with... Read More

COLUMBIA, S.C. — S.C. Democratic state Rep. Krystle Matthews has won the Democratic primary runoff in South Carolina and with it the right to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott in November. With 99% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday afternoon, Matthews beat challenger Catherine Fleming... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Reece Nations
Texas Judge Allows Abortion Procedures to Resume Temporarily 

HOUSTON — Abortions up to around six weeks of pregnancy were permitted to resume at some clinics in Texas after... Read More

HOUSTON — Abortions up to around six weeks of pregnancy were permitted to resume at some clinics in Texas after Harris County District Court Judge Christine Weems granted a temporary restraining order on Tuesday that blocks the state’s ban enacted in 1925. Texas was one of... Read More

June 29, 2022
by Kate Michael
Georgia Power to Launch Largest Ever Coal Ash Harvesting Project

ATLANTA — Georgia Power on Wednesday unveiled a new project with a leading U.S. producer of sustainable cement alternatives. The... Read More

ATLANTA — Georgia Power on Wednesday unveiled a new project with a leading U.S. producer of sustainable cement alternatives. The project calls for millions of tons of stored coal ash to be excavated for use in concrete to construct bridges, roads, and buildings throughout the Southeast.... Read More

46 Migrants Found Dead in Abandoned Trailer in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Forty-six people were found dead after being abandoned in a tractor-trailer on a remote back road... Read More

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Forty-six people were found dead after being abandoned in a tractor-trailer on a remote back road in San Antonio in the latest tragedy to claim the lives of migrants smuggled across the border from Mexico to the U.S. Sixteen people were hospitalized,... Read More

News From The Well