COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the legislative district maps passed by the Ohio Redistricting Commission were unconstitutional.
In a 4-3 vote, with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor serving as the swing vote, the court said the commission drew a plan that unfairly favors the Republican Party over the Democratic Party.
The four-year maps passed by the commission would have given Republicans the advantage in an estimated 67 seats in the Ohio House and 23 seats in the Ohio Senate, which would have allowed the GOP to maintain its supermajority. However, in the last 10 years, Republicans only won 54% of the vote in statewide elections.
The court also has instructed the commission to draw new maps that shall be adopted in the next 10 days in which the court will then review the new plans once submitted.
The breakdown of the votes by the court showed O’Connor, a conservative judge, joining the three liberal judges in the majority.
- Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor
- Justice Melody Stewart
- Justice Michael Donnelly
- Justice Jennifer Brunner
- Justice Sharon Kennedy
- Justice Patrick Fischer
- Justice Patrick DeWine
Ohio lawmakers, state officials and organization leaders reacted to the news of the ruling after the announcement was made.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
“Throughout this process, I expected that Ohio’s legislative maps would be litigated and that the Ohio Supreme Court would make a decision on their constitutionality. I will work with my fellow Redistricting Commission members on revised maps that are consistent with the Court’s order.”
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose via spokesperson Rob Nichols
“We’ve received the Court’s decision and our team is currently reviewing it.”
Ohio auditor Keith Faber via spokesperson Matt Eiselstein
"We're reviewing the decision."
Senate President Matt Huffman via John Fortney
"We're reviewing the 146 page ruling."
Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus)
“Ohioans spoke not once, but twice, to demand fair maps. Now we have heard from the highest Court. We have a another chance to produce fair maps for Ohio, and there is no reason why we can’t follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court. Our job now is to make sure that we adopt a fair map that meets that constitutional requirements Ohio voters have demanded. Having a fair means that Ohios will have better representation, stronger communities, and a more functional legislature and state government.”
Sen. Vernon Sykes and Rep. Emilia Sykes
“The court’s ruling today confirmed what Democrats have been saying all along: the gerrymandered maps created by the majority are unfair, unrepresentative and unconstitutional. Our hope is that the Commission can now get back to work and draw new, 10-year maps that better reflect what voters have demanded: fair districts created through a bipartisan, transparent process. It’s time we give Ohioans the fair maps they deserve.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters
“Twice, Ohioans overwhelmingly demanded change and fair representation, and I’m glad that the Ohio Supreme Court listened. The Supreme Court today recognized what Ohioans already knew – GOP politicians tried to ram through an unconstitutional map that further rigs the state in favor of one party over another. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, it’s imperative that the commission actually do their jobs this time and create maps that reflect our state, not a Republican party wish list.”
Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.
“The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision is huge. It not only orders the immediate drawing of a new, constitutional map, but it also validates that Ohio’s voter-enacted constitutional prohibition that partisan gerrymandering is not merely ‘aspirational’ — it has real teeth. This bodes well for the 2022 election cycle — and beyond. This ruling sends a clear message to lawmakers in Ohio: they may not put politics over people.”
Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio
"We thank the high court for standing with voters and defending our democracy by ordering the drawing of new Ohio Senate and Ohio House districts. Now we call on the Ohio Redistricting Commission to do what voters and the Ohio Supreme court expect: draw maps that keep communities together and represent the right of every Ohio voter to have fair districts."
Jeniece Brock, OCRC vice-chair and policy and advocacy director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative
"We're so thankful to the justices for ruling in the people's favor. Voters deserve fair, representative, and inclusive maps that include all of our voices, Black, brown, and Muslim Ohioans have been left out of the discussion around redistricting, thus it's our voices that must be centered in the conversation because our communities suffer the impacts of gerrymandering on a day to day basis. Now the process starts over again, and over the next 10 days we will make sure our voices are fully heard and represented during this new process. With this ruling in our favor, we are confident that Ohio will become a more equitable place for all of us."