Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday over state’s new Congressional districts

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday about whether the state’s new congressional maps are constitutional.

State lawmakers approved the map in November, and Governor DeWine signed it into law last month.

>>PREVIOUS REPORT: Ohio’s new Congressional map heads to Governor for approval

Redistricting has been at the center of plenty of debate in Columbus all year. Today, it was the subject of arguments in front of the Ohio Supreme Court.

State lawmakers are required to redraw Ohio’s congressional map every 10 years after a U.S census.

>>RELATED: Voting groups express concerns over Ohio redistricting

This year, Ohio lost a congressional seat and the state will now have 15 districts instead of 16.

Tuesday, the map was the subject of virtual arguments in front of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Opponents, like democrats and voting rights groups, say the map is unfairly skewed to favor republican.

Their lawyers argued it does not align with a mandate from Ohio voters in 2018 to reform the re-districting process.

“This case is about how the general assembly has thumbed its nose at these reforms and enacted a plan that palpably violates article 19′s new anti-gerrymandering protections,” said Ben Stafford, representing the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

Republicans argue the map is constitutional, competitive and fair.

“People said they wanted less partisan districts and that’s exactly what they got,” said Phillip Stratch, representing Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, Senate Pres. Matt Huffman.

the lawyer representing the Ohio House Speaker and Ohio Senate President argued during Tuesday’s hearing that the new districts are “fair for all citizens of Ohio.”

“What I think is undisputable here is that it’s very clear that the general assembly decided not to unduly favor or disfavor anyone by drawing districts that were – that were going to be competitive. These districts absolutely can flip back and forth in the coming decade,” said Phillip Stratch, representing Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, Senate Pres. Matt Huffman.

After both sides had time to argue and the justices asked questions, the state’s chief justice had the final say.

A ruling isn’t expected right away. The Ohio Supreme Court will issue its decision in writing at some point in the next few weeks.