Ohio Supreme Court rejects GOP-drawn congressional map as unfairly partisan

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday rejected a new congressional map drawn by state Republican lawmakers as unconstitutional and ordered it redrawn, marking a major victory for Democrats in a state where lopsided districts have confounded their efforts to gain seats in the House.

Democrats and voting rights groups had sued after Republicans created a new map in which the party would have had a 12 to 3 advantage over Democrats in House districts. They charged that the new lines defied a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018 to ban partisan gerrymandering.

While Republicans have won most recent statewide elections, their margins of victory have been far smaller.

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“When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins,” Justice Michael Donnelly wrote in the court’s 4 to 3 opinion. The court ordered the state legislature to submit a new map in the next 3o days.

After redistricting in 2011, Ohio’s congressional delegation went from 10 Democrats and eight Republicans when Barack Obama won the state in 2008 to 12 Republicans and four Democrats in 2012 when Obama won it again. Not a single seat flipped since.

Hamilton County, which contains the heavily-Black city of Cincinnati, was sliced in half in 2011, and those minority voters lumped into districts with more rural, majority-White voters. For the past decade, the county, which voted for President Biden, was represented by two conservative Republicans.

This story is developing.