On September 27, 2021, a coalition of civil and voting rights organizations and Ohio voters filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court challenging the Ohio Redistricting Commission's adopted legislative redistricting plans as violating various provisions of the Ohio Constitution. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that the legislative plans are partisan gerrymanders primarily designed to favor the Republican Party and disfavor the Democratic Party in violation of Article XI, Section 6, which prohibits legislative plans from being "drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a political party" and provides that the "statewide proportion of districts whose voters . . . favor each political party shall correspond closely to the statewide preferences" of Ohio voters. Additionally, plaintiffs assert that the plans as partisan gerrymanders also violate the plaintiffs' Freedom of Assembly under Article I, Section 3 and Freedom of Speech under Article I, Section 11 of the Ohio Constitution. Finally, the plaintiffs claim that the plans as partisan gerrymanders also violate Article XI, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution, which provides that any legislative plan must comply with "all applicable provisions" of the Ohio Constitution, the U.S. Constitution, and federal law. The plaintiffs are seeking a judicial declaration that the commission's legislative plans violate the Ohio Constitution, an injunction barring the defendants from implementing or utilizing the maps in future elections, and for the court to require the Commission to enact new, valid plans that are approved by the court. Oral Arguments for this case were consolidated with League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Commission and Bennett v. Ohio Redistricting Commission and were held on December 8, 2021.

On January 12, 2022, the Ohio Supreme Court held, in a 4-3 decision, that the commission's adopted legislative redistricting plans were unconstitutional because they violated the partisan fairness and proportionality requirements under Article XI, Section 6(A) and (B) of the Ohio Constitution. The majority rejected the defendants' argument that there wasn't a manageable standard for measuring a plan's "fairness," stating that Section 6(B) required the commission to "attempt" to draw a plan which achieved close proportionality, which they failed to do. Similarly, the Court also found that the commission did not attempt to comply with the standard given in Section 6(A), noting that the adopted plans' partisan skew towards Republicans was too excessive to be naturally attributable to Ohio's political geography and constitutional map-drawing criteria. The Court declared the state House and state Senate plans invalid and ordered the commission to reform and adopt new, constitutional plans within 10 days of its judgment (deadline is 1/22/22).

Related Cases: League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Commission; Bennett v. Ohio Redistricting Commission

Similar Cases: Adams v. DeWine; League of Women Voters of Ohio v. DeWine


Ohio Supreme Court - No. 2021-1210 [together with Nos. 2021-1193 & 2021-1198]