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Ohio Supreme Court rejects GOP drawn state legislative redistricting maps for a fifth time with Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor calling it a 'stunning rebuke of the rule of law'....The Equal Districts Coalition comments

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

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By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief

COLUMBUS, Ohio-The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down state House and Senate redistricting maps approved by the seven-member Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission for the fifth time, ruling 4-3 that the maps are unconstitutional and that they favor Republican lawmakers for office and violate anti-gerrymandering rules approved seven-years-ago by Ohio voters. The discrepancy has caused a delay in the primary election of Ohio lawmakers, which was originally set for May 3, an almost unprecedented measure in the history of voting in Ohio.

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor (pictured above), the first woman elected to the post, again broke ranks with fellow Republicans and sided with three Democrats on the seven-member largely Republican court, including Justice Melody Stewart (pictured above), the first Black elected to the court.

O'Connor called the commission's actions in repeatedly submitting unconstitutional maps to the court a "stunning rebuke of the rule of law."

Though the court gave the commission until June 3 to submit yet another set of maps that would be applicable for the next four years,  a federal court panel will now likely order the primary  for state lawmakers for Aug 2, having issued a deadline of May 28 for legal maps to be completed. And it will likely impose the third set of maps, the first set rejected by the state Supreme Court in February.

The controversial fifth set of maps gives Republicans and Democrats an advantage in 54% and 46% of Ohio’s state legislative seats Republicans current control both the House and Senate in Ohio.

The court said that the maps are not much different than the previously four submitted sets of maps and that, again, they fail to pass constitutional muster. Simply put, the court said that the maps are drawn to make it easier for Republican candidates in Ohio state House and Senate district races to win office over Democrats, both the Ohio  House of Representatives and  Ohio Senate currently controlled by Republicans.

The court ordered the commission, which includes Gov. Mike DeWine, state Rep. Jeff LeRe, auditor Keith Faber, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Senate Majority Whip Robert McCulley, all Republicans, and Democrats state Sen Vernon Sykes of Akron, the only Black on the commission, and House Minority Leader Allison Russo, to act promptly. And it denied requests by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other plaintiffs who filed suit against the commission for failing to abide by the court’s orders to demonstrate why it should not be held in contempt of court.

Gov DeWine, a GOP incumbent, faces Democrat and former Dayton mayor Nan Whaley for an all out showdown for governor in the upcoming November general election, an election in which Ohio's U.S. Senate race is also being closely watched nationwide.

Also at issue, among statewide, congressional and other offices on the ballot this November, is the fight to replace retiring Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, and for two other seats on the court that Repubolicans hold Currently, Republicans hold all of the statewide offices, other than three seats on the Supreme Court that the Democrats occupy. Whethr this will change via this election cycle remains to be seen.

The Equal Districts Coalition, the largest redistricting coalition in Ohio, and with over 30 member organizations, praised the state Supreme Court for rejecting yet another set of unconstitutional redistricting maps and, again, called for fairier maps.

"Five separate times, Ohioans watched as Governor DeWine, Frank LaRose, and other high ranking Republicans knowingly violated our state constitution in order to rig Statehouse district maps to help their party win elections," a representative for the Equal Districts Coalition said in a statement."Chief Justice O'Connor is right to name their actions as a "stunning rebuke of the rule of law."Most recently, they ignored readily available bipartisan districts and instead passed a set of maps that had already been struck down as unconstitutional. Their disrespect for our constitution, the court, and their oaths of office is startling. They have been outright mocking Ohio voters and our state's top court — daring anyone to hold them accountable."


Group members of the The Equal Districts Coalition include the Ohio State Conference of the NAACP, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, OAPSE/AFSCME, Ohio Farmers Union, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, the Ohio Environmental Council, Innovation Ohio, the Ohio Student Association, OFUPAC, ProgressOhio, All On the Line-Ohio, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Ohio Council of Churches, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, URGE – Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, LEAD Ohio, the Ohio Women's Alliance, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, CAIR-Ohio, Campus Vote Project, For Our Future Ohio, Ohio Unity Coalition, Equality Ohio, The Freedom Bloc, and more.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor. Coleman is a seasoned Black Cleveland journalist who trained at the Call and Post Newspaper for 17 years and an experienced investigative and political reporter. She is the most read independent journalist in Ohio per 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 Monday, 30 May 2022 15:32

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