Ohio Supreme Court again asks redistricting commissioners why they shouldn’t be held in contempt

The Ohio Supreme Court is again asking for the Ohio Redistricting Commission to show why they should not be held in contempt, after the commission on May 5 voted down maps drawn by outside consultants in a 5-2 party-line vote and reapproved maps in a 4-3 vote that have already been declared unconstitutional “only for use in the 2022 election.”

The court ordered any responses be filed no later than 9 a.m. on Thursday, with no extensions to be granted.

The currently approved maps are the third set out of four that the commission passed during the eight-month fight over new legislative districts. Those maps are likely to be imposed by a panel of federal judges for use in the Aug. 2 partisan primary for state seats if the commission is unable to pass maps not struck down by the state supreme court by May 28.

Shortly before the May 5 meeting, commissioners filed responses to a request for a new contempt hearing.

Sykes and Russo placed all blame on the Republican commissioners, saying they had asked Republican members repeatedly to schedule meetings well in advance of the deadline, but they refused until May 4. They asked the Democratic commissioners be left out of any contempt hearing because they tried to comply.

Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima and House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, who are no longer commission members, filed a joint response saying they can’t be held in contempt because the court order was issued to “the commission,” not individuals, and claimed the court didn’t have the authority to hold legislators in contempt, anyway.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose in separate filings argued they couldn’t be held in contempt for “legislative activity.”

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