BREAKING NEWS-- A federal panel of three judges declared Ohio's congressional districts unconstitutional! READ THE DECISION
On May 3, a panel of judges declared the current congressional map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and ordered the state legislature to redraw district lines by June 14.
A. Philip Randolph Institute of Ohio v. Householder went to trial in March in Cincinnati before a panel of three federal judges: Timothy Black (Cincinnati), Karen Nelson Moore (Cleveland), and Michael Watson (Columbus). The plaintiffs including the League of Women Voters of Ohio and voters in all 16 congressional districts were represented by ACLU of Ohio, and Covington and Burling.
While Ohio voters passed congressional redistricting reform last year, new maps were not expected until after the 2020 census.
“This ruling is a victory for every Ohio voter, because a fair congressional map for 2020 means a stronger democracy for the Buckeye State," said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, on the other hand blasts ruling, "Make no mistake, this politically-motivated lawsuit was brought for the sole purpose of helping Democrat candidates win more seats."
Summary of the decision (found on page 5):
"We join the other federal courts that have held partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional and developed substantially similar standards for adjudicating such claims. We are convinced by the evidence that this partisan gerrymander was intentional and effective and that no legitimate justification accounts for its extremity. Performing our analysis district by district, we conclude that the 2012 map dilutes the votes of Democratic voters by packing and cracking them into districts that are so skewed toward one party that the electoral outcome is predetermined.
"We conclude that the map unconstitutionally burdens associational rights by making it more difficult for voters and certain organizations to advance their aims, be they pro-Democratic or pro-democracy. We conclude that by creating such a map, the State exceeded its powers under Article I of the Constitution.
Accordingly, we declare Ohio’s 2012 map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, enjoin its use in the 2020 election, and order the enactment of a constitutionally viable replacement."
To learn more about what happened during the mapmaking during 2011, check out the Elephant in the Room.
“The court issued a meticulously detailed opinion, concluding that Ohio’s map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, and ordered the state to enact a new remedial plan by June 14,: said Freda Levenson of the ACLU of Ohio. "This opinion, declaring Ohio an egregiously gerrymandered state, completely validates every one of our claims and theories in every respect.