On November 22, 2021, a group of Ohio voters filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court against Ohio's Governor, Secretary of State, and various elected officials challenging the state's enacted congressional plan as violating the Ohio Constitution. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged the enacted plan was a partisan gerrymander drawn to advantage the Republican Party and its candidates in violation of Article XIX, Section 1(C)(3)(a), which prohibits the General Assembly from passing a plan "that unduly favors or disfavors a political party or its incumbents." Additionally, plaintiffs alleged that in the course of creating the enacted plan, the defendants unduly and excessively divided communities and political subdivisions throughout the state in violation of Article XIX, Section 1(C)(3)(b). They sought a judicial declaration that the enacted congressional plan violated Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution, an injunction barring the defendants from implementing or using the plan in future elections, and for the court to take all steps necessary to remedy these violations including the adoption of a new, valid plan and delaying the 2022 elections and related deadlines if necessary.

On December 17, 2021, the Ohio Supreme Court issued an order consolidating this case with another challenge to Ohio's enacted congressional plan, League of Women Voters of Ohio v. DeWine. The Court heard oral arguments in these consolidated actions on December 28, 2021.

On January 14, 2022, the Ohio Supreme Court issued its decision invalidating the enacted congressional plan on the grounds it unduly favored the Republican Party and disfavored the Democratic Party in violation of Article XIX, Section 1(C)(3)(a). The Court also held the plan unduly split Hamilton, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties in violation of Section 1(C)(3)(b). Having found it unconstitutional, the Court ordered the General Assembly to craft and enact a new, constitutional congressional plan in accordance with Article XIX, which establishes a deadline of 30 days from the date of the court's judgment. The General Assembly missed this deadline, and so the Ohio Redistricting Commission assumed congressional redistricting authority and adopted a new plan on March 2, 2022.

On March 4, the plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce the court's January 14 order, asserting the Commission's revised congressional plan was still an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. On March 18, the Court issued an order denying the motion to enforce as procedurally improper, as well as their request to file an amended complaint, explaining the Court issued its final judgment in the case on January 14 and did not have jurisdiction to review a remedial plan passed or adopted under Article XIX, Section 3(A) or 3(B) of the Ohio Constitution. The Court expressly stated their order did not preclude the filing of a new original action challenging the March 2, 2022 plan.

Related Case: League of Women Voters of Ohio v. DeWine

Similar Cases: Bennett v. Ohio Redistricting Comm'n; League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Comm'n; Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Comm'n


Ohio Supreme Court - No. 2021-1428 [together with No. 2021-1449]