Today, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio announced it would not immediately intervene to establish legislative maps or move the state’s 2022 primary elections. The federal panel has given the state a May 28 deadline to produce a new redistricting plan that can be implemented for an August 2 primary. If state lawmakers and the Ohio Redistricting Commission do not produce legal maps and adjust the election calendar by that time, the panel will implement a set of maps that have been previously rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court as an unconstitutional gerrymander.
“The fight for fair maps in Ohio continues for 2022 and beyond. The federal court has given the Ohio Redistricting Commission time to comply with orders from the Ohio Supreme Court,” said Yurij Rudensky, senior counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. “It’s long past time for the Commission to respect the requirements of the Ohio Constitution and draw lawful maps. Allowing a federal court to dictate the outcome by implementing unconstitutional maps would violate the Commission’s constitutional duty and the trust of Ohioans who overwhelmingly voted to cleanse the process of partisan abuses.”
The decision by the federal court comes on the heels of a state Supreme Court ruling last week that struck down a fourth set of maps approved by the Ohio Redistricting Commission. Petitioners fighting the maps in state court, in Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission, have said the fourth round of maps and previous versions approved by the Commission violate the state constitution’s prohibition against partisan gerrymandering.
The Brennan Center for Justice and Reed Smith represent the petitioners in Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission: the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, CAIR-Ohio, Ohio Environmental Council, Ahmad Aboukar, Crystal Bryant, Samuel Gresham Jr., Prentiss Haney, Mikayla Lee, and Pierrette “Petee” Talley.
The federal court’s ruling is here. More filings and background on Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission are available here.
- “The Ohio Redistricting Fight Isn’t a Mess. It’s Progress,” by Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center
- “Ohio Voters Ask State Supreme Court to Begin Contempt Proceedings Against Ohio Redistricting Commission,” Brennan Center for Justice Press release, March 30, 2022
- “In Court to Fight Ohio’s Gerrymandered Maps,” by Sam Gresham, petitioner and chair of Common Cause Ohio
- “Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Third Set of Legislative Maps Over Partisan Gerrymandering,” Brennan Center for Justice press release, March 17, 2022
- “Petitioners Ask Ohio Supreme Court to Reject Redrawn Legislative Maps and Order Commission to Consider Rodden Maps,” Brennan Center for Justice press release, Feb. 28, 2022
- “Ohio Voters File Motion to Intervene in Federal Redistricting Suit that Would Impose Unfair Maps,” Brennan Center for Justice press release, Feb. 25, 2022
- “Ohio Supreme Court Orders Second Redrawing of Legislative Maps Due to Partisan Gerrymandering,” Brennan Center for Justice press release, Feb. 7, 2022
- “Victory for Ohioans: Ohio Supreme Court Throws Out Legislative Maps for Illegal Partisan Gerrymandering,” Brennan Center for Justice press release, Jan. 12, 2022
- “COVID Inequities Show Why Ohio’s Fair Map Mandate Must Not Be Ignored” by Jeniece Brock, policy and advocacy director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative
- “Ohio Take Note: Fairness Is a Universal Value” by Tala Dahbour, policy director, CAIR-Ohio
- “How Gerrymandering Contributes to Environmental Injustice” by Callia Téllez, environmental policy fellow, Ohio Environmental Council
- “Lawmakers’ ‘Rigged’ Map Would Steal Ohioans’ Right to Representation” by Kathleen Clyde and Greg Moore, co-chairs, Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission
- “We’re Suing Ohio Over Its Gerrymandered Voting District Maps” by Alicia Bannon, Yurij Rudensky, and Julia Kirschenbaum, Brennan Center for Justice