WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, July 19, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the state’s current congressional map for being a partisan gerrymander that favored Republicans in violation of the Ohio Constitution. This map was adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission in March after the state’s previously enacted congressional map was similarly blocked by the Ohio Supreme Court for being a partisan gerrymander that favored Republicans. While the original map was expected to give Republicans control of around 80% of the state’s 15 congressional districts, the revised one is similarly skewed in favor of Republicans and Democrats are only expected to win a maximum of five out of 15 seats. The state held its May 3 congressional primary elections under this revised map and it will also be used in the upcoming general election on Nov. 8, 2022. Although the court ordered new maps to be drawn in today’s opinion, these maps will not take effect until 2024. As a reminder, Ohio’s legislative maps are also currently being challenged and have been struck down a total of six times for violating the Ohio Constitution. A federal court ordered the use of the third iteration of the General Assembly’s legislative maps (which were previously struck down in state court) in the state’s 2022 elections only.
After the revised map was enacted in March, two sets of plaintiffs filed lawsuits challenging it for being an extreme partisan gerrymander that violates the Ohio Constitution. In today’s 4-3 opinion, the majority of the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs’ claims, holding that the revised plan “unduly favors the Republican Party and disfavors the Democratic Party” in violation of the anti-gerrymandering provision on the Ohio Constitution. The General Assembly will now have 30 days to pass a remedial map that will take effect for the 2024 election cycle. If the General Assembly fails to enact a constitutional map within this time, the Ohio Redistricting Commission will be tasked with drawing a new congressional map.