Ohio Supreme Court could hold Ohio Redistricting Commission in contempt of court

Separately, a federal court considers stepping in on the primary

Credit: Doral Chenoweth

Credit: Doral Chenoweth

The Ohio Redistricting Commission is again being threatened with contempt of court charges.

The Ohio Supreme Court has given the commission until Monday to explain why they should not be held in contempt for earlier this week violating the court’s order to draw new, fair Ohio General Assembly district maps.

On Monday night, hours before the court-imposed midnight deadline to pass a fourth set of Statehouse districts, Republican members of the commission chose not to go with maps drawn in public by two independent consultants. Instead, Republicans tweaked versions of their own third set of maps (which were previously ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court) and passed their maps Monday night in a 4-3 vote.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, ruled this morning that the commission has until 9 a.m. Monday to meet plaintiffs requests to show cause for why they should not be held in contempt of the court’s March 16 order.

The plaintiffs in the case are the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and the Ohio League of Women Voters, who have asked the commission to be held in contempt.

The Ohio Supreme Court previously ruled the third set of Ohio General Assembly district maps passed by the commission violated the Ohio Constitution because they did not reflect the state’s voters and unfairly favored Republicans. The court directed the commission to hire independent consultants and create maps from scratch, which they did. But the Republican majority on the commission bypassed those maps in favor of tweaking the maps the court threw out.

Republicans said the mapmakers did not produce maps in time for the commission to review, amend and pass before the deadline.

Nancy Martorano Miller, a professor of political science at the University of Dayton, said the maps passed Monday are very similar to the last ones they passed.

Meanwhile, Wednesday morning, a federal court is in session in Columbus considering several options related to the primary as part of an ongoing lawsuit from Republican activists asking the court to impose the third set of Ohio General Assembly district maps that the Ohio Supreme court rejected last month.

The court could take several actions, including instating the third or fourth round of Statehouse maps or moving the primary. Or they could take no action.

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