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Press Release

Ohio Voters Ask State Supreme Court to Hold Ohio Redistricting Commission in Contempt

Once again defying the court’s orders, the commission resubmitted a legislative plan that violated Ohio’s ban on partisan gerrymandering.

May 10, 2022
Contact: Romario R. Ricketts, Media Contact, rickettsr@brennan.law.nyu.edu, 646-925-8734

Peti­tion­ers in Ohio Organ­iz­ing Collab­or­at­ive v. Ohio Redis­trict­ing Commis­sion today filed a motion, which asks the Ohio Supreme Court to reject the legis­lat­ive maps adop­ted on May 6 by the Ohio Redis­trict­ing Commis­sion and hold the commis­sion in contempt of court. For the fifth time, the commis­sion had defied the court’s orders to produce maps that meet the Ohio consti­tu­tion’s stand­ards and instead submit­ted districts already found to be uncon­sti­tu­tional.

In its filing, the commis­sion used the state’s 2022 elec­tion calen­dar as an excuse for resub­mit­ting invalid maps. Although the commis­sion’s actions have put the calen­dar in turmoil, it has no respons­ib­il­ity for setting or imple­ment­ing that calen­dar. Its respons­ib­il­ity is to draw consti­tu­tional maps.

Yurij Rudensky, senior coun­sel in the Demo­cracy Program at Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the follow­ing reac­tion:

“Self-serving excuses cannot mask the blatant illeg­al­ity of the commis­sion’s actions. The commis­sion claims that it had the Ohio elec­tion calen­dar in mind when it tried for the fifth time to impose unfair maps on voters. That does not hold water. The commis­sion is tasked with one thing and one thing only: adopt­ing legis­lat­ive maps that don’t viol­ate the Ohio consti­tu­tion.”

The Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU Law and Reed Smith repres­ent peti­tion­ers Ohio Organ­iz­ing Collab­or­at­ive, CAIR-Ohio, Ohio Envir­on­mental Coun­cil, Ahmad Aboukar, Crys­tal Bryant, Samuel Gresham Jr., Pren­tiss Haney, Mikayla Lee, and Pier­rette “Petee” Talley.

Patrick Yingling, part­ner at Reed Smith, had the follow­ing reac­tion:

“The commis­sion’s refusal to follow yet another clear order from the Ohio Supreme Court is unac­cept­able. The commis­sion is bound by the orders of the court and is not above the law.”

The motion, the court’s order, and more filings and back­ground on Ohio Organ­iz­ing Collab­or­at­ive v. Ohio Redis­trict­ing Commis­sion are avail­able here.

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