The Ohio Supreme Court tossed out the state’s new congressional map on Friday, with a blistering opinion condemning state Republicans for favoring their own party despite Constitutional reforms to curb partisan gerrymandering.
“When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins. That perhaps explains how a party that generally musters no more than 55 percent of the statewide popular vote is positioned to reliably win anywhere from 75 percent to 80 percent of the seats in the Ohio congressional delegation," Justice Michael P. Donnelly wrote in the majority opinion of the 4-3 decision.
"By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up," Donnelly added.
The court ordered the General Assembly to redraw a new Congressional map in 30 days, complying with the redistricting reforms and resisting partisan considerations.
Donnelly, a Democrat, was joined by the court’s two other Democrats and Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Republican, in the majority opinion that demanded a new map be drawn by lawmakers.
He slammed Republicans for ignoring the state's new redistricting reforms — a "clarion call sent by Ohio voters to stop political gerrymandering" — in the map-drawing process last year.
Ohio voters fought for years to enact new redistricting reforms, eventually amending the state Constitution with a series of reforms that created a bipartisan redistricting commission as well as created a number of new mandates for redistricting, including mandating that legislators "shall not pass a plan that unduly favors or disfavors a political party or its incumbents."
But Ohio lawmakers sidestepped the state’s new bipartisan redistricting commission and drew maps that secured Republicans a 12-3 advantage in a state former President Donald Trump won by 8 points.
“The General Assembly produced a plan that is infused with undue partisan bias and that is incomprehensibly more extremely biased than the 2011 plan that it replaced. This is not what Ohio voters wanted or expected when they approved Article XIX as a means to end partisan gerrymandering in Ohio for good,” the majority opinion states.