The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the revised Ohio House and Senate maps are unconstitutional in a 4-3 decision Monday.
In the Court's decision, the majority opinion stated the revised maps were unconstitutional because the maps were only changed slightly from the original maps, and still showed partisan bias.
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor joined Justices Michael Donnelly, Jennifer Brunner and Melody Stewart in concurring with the majority opinion.
The majority decision of the Court said the commission adopted the plan knowing the House districts that were drawn to favor Republicans are safe districts. The districts that were drawn in favor of Democrats could likely result in Republican seats, according to the majority decision.
“As in the original plan that this Court invalidated, there is evidence that the revised plan has a high degree of partisan asymmetry,” the majority opinion stated. “We invalidate the revised plan in its entirety.”
The Ohio Redistricting Commission was given until Feb. 17 to draw up a third round of maps, which the Court will then review.
“The public officials entrusted to draw our legislative maps again disregarded their sacred duty to follow our Constitution, and the Ohio Supreme Court again struck the maps,” Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, said in a statement. “Now, hopefully, in their third attempt to draw these maps, the commission will take seriously the Court’s admonition to follow the law.
Justices Sharon Kennedy and R. Patrick DeWine dissented with an opinion, saying the Court has exceeded its authority by striking down the legislative maps. Justice Patrick F. Fischer also dissented, but with a separate opinion.
“In today’s astonishing order, the majority compels the commission to design districts that guarantee Democratic victories,” Kennedy and Dewine’s dissenting opinion states.
The Court previously struck down the original maps on Jan. 12 and the Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted the revised maps on Jan. 22.