In a scathing opinion that compared the GOP to gambling cheats, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down proposed congressional maps on Friday that would have given a massive advantage to Republicans.
“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,” wrote Justice Michael P. Donnelly, a Democrat.
“By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up,” he continued, adding “This is not what Ohio voters wanted or expected.’’
NBC News provides background:
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 court’s two other Democrats and Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, joined Donnelly in the 4-3 decision.
Ohio’s General Assembly now has 30 days to draw new maps that follow the 2018 amendment to the state constitution.
“If they can’t reach a solution,” explains The Columbus Dispatch “the Ohio Redistricting Commission – a panel of statewide elected officials and state lawmakers – will have 30 days to do so. Mapmakers face a tight turnaround because candidates must file paperwork to run by March 4.”
Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, cheered Friday’s ruling.
“Once again, Ohio’s high court steps in to defend the Ohio Constitution, our representative democracy, and the right of every Ohio to have fair districts,” she said. “We call on the Ohio General Assembly to finally put voters first, rather than their short-sighted and selfish political interests.”