Ohio Supreme Court throws out congressional-district map; majority says it ‘unduly favors’ one party

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court Friday issued a 4-3 decision that said the Ohio legislature violated the Ohio Constitution with its latest congressional-district map.

“The Court majority ruled that the legislature violated two provisions of Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution when it passed Senate Bill 258 in November 2021 by adopting a congressional-district plan that ‘unduly favors’ the Republican Party and ‘unduly splits’ governmental units into different congressional districts that would favor the Republican Party,” the Ohio Supreme Court said in its announcement of the decision.

>> Local lawmakers react to Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling on state’s legislative district maps

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly wrote for the court majority saying, “[T]he evidence in these cases makes clear beyond all doubt that the General Assembly did not heed the clarion call sent by Ohio voters to stop political gerrymandering.”

The decision is the second this week from the state’s highest court involving cases that challenged the constitutionality of the most recent maps drawn ahead of the 2022 primary election in May.

>> New Ohio legislative district maps unconstitutional and need re-drawn, Supreme Court says

On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision that invalidated the district maps for the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.

Both congressional and district maps are governed by separate sections of the Ohio Constitution.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Melody J. Stewart and Jennifer Brunner joined Justice Donnelly’s opinion released Friday. Justices Sharon L. Kennedy, Patrick F. Fischer and R. Patrick DeWine dissented with a jointly written opinion.