Menu Style



BELOW PICTURE: Women's March Cleveland Head Organizer Kathy Wray Coleman (2nd from left) leads 2,500 people in a march for reproductive rights on Oct 2, 2021 on Market Square in Cleveland, Ohio. It was one of the largest marches in the country that day. Photo and coverage by the Plain Dealer and CLICK HERE TO GO GO TO CLEVELAND.COM TO READ ON THE COVERAGE OF THE EVENT






Women's March Cleveland's Save Roe Rally & March for Civil

Rights and against the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

is Sat., June 11, 2022, noon- 2pm, City Hall steps in

Cleveland, Ohio, 600 Lakeside Avenue E  44114



Ohio Supreme Court again strikes down GOP drawn state legislative redistricing maps as unconstitutional with Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor again breaking rank with fellow Republicans to bring Democrats a win

  • PDF
Pictured are Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and Justice Melody Stewart, Stewart the first Black elected to the court

( / ( the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email:

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor-in-chief. Coleman is a former public school biology teacher and a seasoned Black political, legal and investigative reporter who trained as a reporter at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio for 17 years.

COLUMBUS, Ohio-For the second time in under a month, the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday, and via a 4-3 ruling, struck down state legislative redistricting maps approved by the seven-member Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission, which includes GOP Gov. Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The decision comes behind a separate and unrelated ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed a GOP drawn  congressional map that disenfranchises Black voters in Alabama to stay intact.  (Editor's note: The ORC also has jurisdiction under state law to approve congressional district maps when the state legislature reaches an impasse on the issue but this article pertains to the controversy around the ORC's drawing of maps for state legislative districts, and three pending lawsuits that say the new maps are unconstitutional).

The commission, which approved the maps 5-2 and along party lines, has repeatedly been accused of approving racist and unconstitutional four-year state legislative district maps by plaintiffs in lawsuits pending before the court. The maps were to take effect for four years because Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature could not agree on 10-year maps.

The court gave the commission until Feb. 17 to approve new maps for the third time, maps that reflect the 54% Republican, 46% Democrat voting preferences exhibited over the past decade.

“The revised plan does not attempt to closely correspond to that constitutionally defined ratio. Our instruction to the commission is – simply – to comply with the Constitution,” the opinion said.

A former lieutenant governor and the first woman elected chief justice of the court, Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor , a Republican, joined with the three Democratic justices for a second time to reject the controversial state House and state Senate district maps.

Democratic Justice Jennifer Brunner again sided with the Democrats while  Republican Justices Pat DeWine, the governor's son, and Sharon Kennedy were among those who again dissented.

Brunner and Kennedy are currently running against each other for the chief justice seat that is open since O'Connor, per state law, cannot run for reelection because she is at least 70 years of age.  Gov DeWine is also running for reelection, as is LaRose, who seeks to hold on to his secretary of state seat. other than three seats on the state's supreme court, the Republicans hold all of the statewide offices, and have done so since 2010 when John Kasich, who went on to win a second term and was succeeded by DeWine, ousted then Democratic governor Ted Strickland from office.

The court,  on Jan 12.,  struck down the first set of GOP drawn state House and Senate district maps, ruling 4-3 that the maps were unconstitutional and did not meet the mandates of the anti-gerrymandering rules established by voters in 2015. The court ruling sent the maps back to the ORC for a new plan, one the court rejected again on Tuesday as not passing constitutional muster.

The plaintiffs in the three lawsuits who convinced the court to reject the maps the first time around, including the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, say basically the same thing. They argue that the maps are unconstitutional because they are drawn to carve state legislative districts where voters collectively favor Republicans over Democratic candidates for elections to the Ohio House and Senate. This, says the plaintiffs, is blatantly racist and against the 2015 voter approved referendum that changed redistricting rules.

Chief Justice O'Connor broke with her party and joined the three Democrats on the seven member largely female and majority Republican court to bring Democrats and voting advocates a win regarding the court decision that struck down the maps initially and sent the ORC back to the drawing board. And the chief justice did the same thing on Tuesday regarding the second set of unconstitutional maps

The court's majority opinion in which the first set of maps were deemed illegal was written by Justice Melody Stewart, a Democrat and the first Black elected to the court. A former 8th District Court of Appeals judge out of Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, Stewart's opinion on behalf of the majority says the maps the first time around disproportionately favor Republicans.

Those preferences, she wrote, were 54% for Republican candidates and 46% for Democratic candidates over the past 10 years and since the last census report.

“The commission is required to attempt to draw a plan in which the statewide proportion of Republican-leaning districts to Democratic-leaning districts closely corresponds to those percentages,” wrote Stewart. “Section 6 speaks not of desire but of direction: the commission shall attempt to achieve the standards of that section."

The court heard oral arguments in December relative to three lawsuits that challenge the first set of Republican-approved state legislative district maps that the court rejected, controversial maps approved in September by the Ohio Redistricting Commission (ORC), which  is accused of  approving illegally drawn maps that are racist and that favor Republican candidates for office.

Set to take effect for the 2022 elections for open seats on the  Ohio state legislature, such maps determine state district boundaries for elections of state representatives and state senators in Ohio, and in a discriminatory fashion, the lawsuits say. Currently, Republicans control the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, which is partly why the ORC is largely Republican.

An amendment to the state constitution approved by voters in 2015 changed the way the process for drawing congressional and state legislative maps occurs and created the ORC, though districts are still drawn initially in conjunction with population dynamics in response to the U.S. Census every 10 years. The year 2020 marked 10-years since the last applicable census and, accordingly, this year is the first time that the new process that employs authority to the ORC to step in for the state legislature when a partisan conflict ensues over the maps has been put to a test.

The first lawsuit for which the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in December was filed by the ACLU primarily on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the second by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee on behalf of a group of Ohio voters. A third suit was brought by plaintiffs who say the maps dilute Black Muslim votes. It was filed by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, the Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Ohio Environmental Council.

All three of the lawsuits were filed in the Ohio Supreme Court and allege in large part that the ORC purposely gerrymandered the maps to help Republicans win elections over Democrats for state House and Senate races with the plaintiffs in the third lawsuit claiming also that the maps have racial implications that raise constitutional questions since a majority of Black and Muslim voters and voters of color in general are Democrats.

"OOC believes that the maps currently under scrutiny by the state's highest court are unconstitutional because of the ways they dilute the power of voters in Black, brown, immigrant, and Muslim communities through "cracking and packing," a spokesperson for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative said in a statement to and, Ohio's Black digital news leader.

The maps that Ohio's highest court struck down for the first time on Jan 12  and sent back for revision, were, like the first maps the court shot down, also approved by the commission (ORC) 5-2 on Sept. 16 with Democrats Emilia Sykes of Akron, then the minority leader of the House, and her father, state Sen Vernon Sykes, also of Akron, refusing to support the measure. Both of them are Black. The younger Sykes' successor as House minority leader, state Rep Allison Russo, an Upper-Arlington Democrat, now serves on the ORC in her place on the commission.

Ohio lawmakers are term-limited. State law restricts state legislators in Ohio from holding office for more than eight years, and only after a four year period out of office. In conjunction with the redistricting controversy, a bill is pending in the state legislature that seeks to extend this year's primary election by a month, from May 3 to June 7. and the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 April 2022 00:01


harry jacob.jpg - 2.82 Kb

The annual11th Congressional District Caucus Parade is Monday, September 2

11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus of Blacks in Congress. waives to the crowd last year at the annual 11th Congressional District Caucus Parade.  This year's parade kicks off on Monday, September 2 on Cleveland's east side at 10:00 am from E. 149th Street and Kinsman Road and ends at Luke Easter Park where the picnic will begin. The event will be replete with political speeches and entertainment from various sources, including local musicians and bands. The well-attended caucus parade was initiated by Democrat Louis Stokes, the retired congressman before Fudge, and the tradition was furthered by the late Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Fudges' predecessor. Stokes was the first Black congressperson from Ohio and Tubbs Jones was the first Black congresswoman from Ohio