Common Cause Ohio Says Legislators ‘Don’t Have Free Reign Over Redistricting’ After Appeal of Congressional Map Is Made to SCOTUS

COLUMBUS, OH — Today, GOP members of the Ohio General Assembly — including Senate President Matt Huffman, Speaker Bob Cupp and two other Republican legislators — announced they will be appealing the state Supreme Court’s ruling on the second congressional map to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The lawmakers are basing their appeal on the “independent state legislature theory,” a widely disparaged and self-serving concept that insists the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures ultimate authority over election matters regarding federal officials. 

Last July, the Ohio Supreme Court, in a bipartisan 4-3 decision, struck down the Ohio congressional map as an unconstitutional gerrymander. The map was adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission and will be used for this 2022 election. While the court found the map was drawn to unconstitutionally favor the GOP and thus violated the redistricting rules added to Ohio’s Constitution in 2018, the state legislature and then the Ohio Redistricting Commission failed to reconvene to draw a new map for subsequent elections.

Many cases appealed to the highest court are never heard. The U.S. Supreme Court will make a decision regarding whether it will look into the legislators’ arguments.

“The independent state legislature theory is a power grab and a threat to the checks and balances that make our democracy work,” said Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio’s executive director. “Lawmakers don’t have free reign over redistricting. This tactic is just another day in the endless cycle of bucking Ohio voters and the Ohio Constitution. Ohioans voted to put an end to gerrymandering and deserve districts that equitably represent our communities and voters. We hope the U.S. Supreme Court repudiates anything that challenges the checks and balances that make our democracy work.”

An update on Common Cause’s timeline — a press- and public-friendly tool used to track the ongoing Ohio redistricting process — can be found here.