On November 30, 2021, a coalition of civil rights groups and Ohio voters led by the League of Women Voters of Ohio filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court challenging the state's enacted congressional redistricting plan as violating the Ohio Constitution. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged the congressional plan was a partisan gerrymander that unduly favored the Republican Party and its candidates in violation of Article XIX, Section 1(C)(3)(a), which broadly prohibits any plan from "unduly favor[ing] or disfavor[ing] a political party or its incumbents." Additionally, plaintiffs asserted the plan also excessively and unnecessarily splitted counties and political subdivisions 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 using the plan in any future elections, and a court order requiring the Ohio Redistricting Commission to adopt a new congressional plan or, at minimum, to amend the enacted plan to correct the alleged violations.

On December 17, 2021, the Ohio Supreme Court issued an order consolidating this case with another challenge to Ohio's enacted congressional plan, Adams 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 that 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 7, 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: Adams v. DeWine

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


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