Another day, another redistricting deadline missed
Today is another sad day in the sordid history of rigged redistricting in Ohio.
Today was the day the Ohio Redistricting Commission was supposed to have completed a constitutionally-compliant congressional map. On July 19, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the second gerrymandered congressional map drawn by the Redistricting Commission. Members of the court found the map, used in the May primary, was drawn to unconstitutionally favor the GOP and thus violated the rules against partisan gerrymandering approved by the voters and added to Ohio’s constitution in 2018.
The reforms adopted into the Ohio Constitution mandate what happens when a congressional map is struck down: the state legislature has 30 days to draw a new map; if they fail, the task passes to the Redistricting Commission.
The General Assembly took no action and missed their 8/17/22 deadline. The task then passed to the Redistricting Commission. Since they have not convened, the Commission will—sadly but predictably—miss their deadline as well. Commissioners didn’t even pretend to comply. Instead they thumbed their noses not only at the Court and the voters, but at the rules that are part of the Ohio Constitution—rules that some of them had a major part in crafting. Sen. Pres. Huffman even sponsored the changes to the Ohio Constitution.
What excuse did they give? It’s complicated/absurd. We explained it a bit in this Common Cause Ohio Democracy Wire post. Essentially, the Republicans on the Commission are hoping to jump on the bandwagon of the Independent State Legislature theory. They are arguing that the Ohio Supreme Court overstepped when it ruled on the constitutionality of the map—even though the Ohio Constitution explicitly gives them the power to do so.
Fair Districts held a press event yesterday to update the media on the current situation and answer their questions. You can watch a recording of the event HERE (Passcode: @ORCDeadline99).
We wanted to share a few additional articles that talk about our situation in Ohio, the Independent State Legislature theory, what’s ahead, plus some surprising news from Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. Happy reading!
- Ohio Supreme Court power could change under ‘independent state legislature’ theory, Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal, 8/1/2022.
- Redistricting: One year later, Ohio a unique, flawed case, Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal, 9/2/2022
- All 50 chief justices urge U.S. Supreme Court to reject NC legislative case, Steve Doyle, Fox 8, 9/8/2022
- Ohio’s redistricting fiasco highlights fragility of the rule of law underpinning our democracy, Steven H. Steinglass, Cleveland.com, 9/14/2022
- Discussions underway to propose new redistricting reform to Ohio voters, Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal, 9/15/2022
- Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor says she’ll join anti-gerrymandering effort after leaving office, Andrew Tobias, Cleveland.com, 9/15/2022