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Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Gerrymandered Congressional Maps – Mother Jones


Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Gerrymandered Congressional Maps – Mother Jones

Members of the Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee hear testimony on a new map of state congressional districts at the Ohio StatehouseJulie Carr Smyth/AP

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In a 4–3 decision Friday, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the state’s new congressional maps, saying that Republicans had illegally submitted districts that heavily favored GOP candidates. 

The court’s opinion, written by Justice Michael Donnelly, concluded that Republicans had violated a state constitutional amendment prohibiting gerrymandering that Ohio voters had overwhelmingly voted to approve in 2018. 

“When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins,” reads the opinion. “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. By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up.”

Ohio does lean Republican, but out of 15 congressional districts, the new maps contained only four Democratic-leaning or competitive districts. As a particularly egregious example of gerrymandering, the map’s detractors frequently cited Hamilton County, a district with a large Black population, where Joe Biden won 57 percent of the vote. In 2011, Ohio lawmakers split Hamilton County—which contains Cincinnati—in half and connected the two pieces to heavily Republican districts, ensuring that the majority-Democratic county would have conservative representation. In 2021, Republican lawmakers went even further, dividing the county into three pieces and folding them into rural, majority-white districts.

As a result, the National Redistricting Action Fund—a voting rights organization helmed by former Attorney General Eric Holder—and a series of groups, including the League of Women Voters of Ohio, challenged the maps in court.

As a result of Friday’s rulings, Democrats could have a chance to win two or three…

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