COLUMBUS, Ohio — The seven members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission submitted responses to the Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday why they think the court should not hold them in contempt for failing to follow the court’s order to adopt new legislative maps.
What You Need To Know
- The seven members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission submitted responses to the Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday why they think the court should not hold them in contempt
- Four of the five Republican commissioners voted to resubmit a pair of maps the Ohio Supreme Court previously ruled unconstitutional because they unfairly favor the Republican Party
- If the state cannot figure out its legislative redistricting situation by May 28, a federal court has said it will implement the maps re-adopted by the commission
One week ago, four of the five Republican commissioners voted to resubmit a pair of maps the Ohio Supreme Court previously ruled unconstitutional because they unfairly favor the Republican Party.
Republican commissioners claimed it was impossible to submit any other legislative maps than the third set they resubmitted last week.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose, R-Ohio, has claimed there simply is not enough time to institute brand new maps for a potential Aug. 2 primary. The state legislature could have passed an emergency bill to shift the deadlines but has not done that.
🧵I’m going to bring up a controversial topic being talked about here in Ohio: State Legislative Redistricting. Both sides have fought hard on the issue and both sides are doing a lot of finger pointing. But that’s not what this thread is about…— Frank LaRose 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@FrankLaRose) May 12, 2022
Meanwhile, Democratic commissioners disagree. They said their Republican counterparts should be forced to appear in court to explain their actions. However, the Democrats themselves said they should not be held in contempt because they “took all steps within their power to comply with the Court’s order and to get the Commission to comply with the Court’s order.”
Spectrum News 1 legal analyst Rory Riley-Topping said the court’s integrity could be on the line with this decision.
“It’s like the boy who cried wolf. You keep saying we’re going to hold you in contempt, we’re going to hold you in contempt, then you don’t do anything about it, that really puts some of their authority into question. And I don’t think that’s good for the court as an institution,” said Riley-Topping.
It is now up to the court to determine the next steps for contempt and what ultimately happens with the legislative maps. If the state cannot figure out its legislative redistricting situation by May 28, a federal court has said it will implement the maps re-adopted by the commission.
Knowing about the potential for federal court intervention, Riley-Topping thinks there is a good likelihood we see an expedited decision from the court on contempt and the maps themselves. She thinks the fact the maps have already been looked over and rejected by a majority of justices, plus that federal court deadline, could certainly help speed things up for the court.
However, Riley-Topping pointed out the internal back-and-forth disagreements the justices have been having with one another that have played out in public through their opinions and how that could slow things down.
“I think the court probably wants to issue an expedited decision, but they have to go through their own internal processes in terms of issuing a decision,” Riley-Topping said. “That does take time. But with that May 28 deadline looming, I would certainly think that they would want to have a last word before that deadline comes into play.”
Riley-Topping reiterated her belief that if a hearing on contempt ultimately happens, which she thinks is more likely this time around, commissioners could be held in contempt but without sanctions.
Although she said it is not impossible to have sanctions since other states have fined public officials a certain dollar amount per day until the work the court wants done gets done. Yet the Ohio Supreme Court has taken a very conservative approach to contempt so far.