ICYMI: Ohio Media Outlets Shred Republicans Over Gerrymandered Maps: “Ohio GOP Got What It Deserved”
January 14, 2022
For Immediate Release:
Friday, January 14, 2022
“This is gerrymandering. It’s cheating, and it poisons everything.”
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, Ohio media outlets wasted no time this week taking the Ohio Republicans to task following the Ohio Supreme Court ruling overturning blatantly gerrymandered and unconstitutional legislative maps. Ohio Capital Journal editor David DeWitt eviscerated Republican justices on the Ohio Supreme Court following their dissents on this week’s ruling :
“Three Ohio Supreme Court justices have also shamefully abdicated their responsibility to the Ohio Constitution and the voters. Either they don’t understand the court’s critical role to check partisan politicians who cheat voters with gerrymandering, or they don’t care and are themselves engaged in a partisan political power quest rather than constitutional jurisprudence,” writes DeWitt.
WVXU-FM political reporter Howard Wilkinson didn’t mince word either, noting he expected Republican justices to cave to their own party and “play dead” but showing how in the end, the Ohio GOP “got what it deserved,” thanks in part to the swing vote of a Republican justice:
“In both cases, the statehouse Republicans tried to pull a fast one on the Ohio Supreme Court. And in both cases, they failed miserably.” writes Wilkinson.
Read more below:
- The argument of the three Republican supreme court justices dissenting against the anti-gerrymandering opinion issued by the court 4-3 Wednesday appears to be: Republican politicians are allowed to rig the game in their favor against the wishes of Ohio voters and in violation of the Ohio Constitution, and the Ohio Supreme Court has no authority to stop them.
- In 2015, 71% of Ohio voters amended the state constitution for Statehouse redistricting reform demanding an end to partisan gerrymandering.
- Nevertheless, in September, Ohio Republican politicians awarded themselves continued supermajorities.
- This is gerrymandering. It’s cheating, and it poisons everything.
- But three Republican Ohio Supreme Court justices would throw away the judiciary’s power to hold politicians responsible for following the Ohio Constitution and the voters’ demands to end gerrymandering.
- Saying the Ohio Supreme Court “does not have license” to uphold the Ohio Constitution on such a fundamental question of democracy for our Republic, when the maps were created jointly by the two other branches of government, is an odd and absurd argument to come from some of the highest members of the state’s judicial branch.
- And now three Ohio Supreme Court justices have also shamefully abdicated their responsibility to the Ohio Constitution and the voters. Either they don’t understand the court’s critical role to check partisan politicians who cheat voters with gerrymandering, or they don’t care and are themselves engaged in a partisan political power quest rather than constitutional jurisprudence.
- It really boggles the mind that the five Republicans on the Ohio Legislative Redistricting Commission and their GOP pals in the legislature thought they could get away with it.
- Drawing and approving a four-year map for Ohio House and Senate districts and a separate map for Ohio’s 15 congressional district that were so skewed to favor the GOP that anyone with a lick of sense could see the maps were blatantly unconstitutional.
- Now, because they couldn’t find it in themselves to draw a congressional district map that was not only fair but constitutional, the legislature will have 30 days to try again.
- In both cases, the statehouse Republicans tried to pull a fast one on the Ohio Supreme Court. And in both cases, they failed miserably.
- Following the law was apparently too much to ask of a hyper-partisan Republican super majority in the legislature, who routinely puff out their chests and strut about the House and Senate chambers, in the sure knowledge that they can get away with anything they want. Well, not this time.
- With four Republicans and three Democrats on the Ohio Supreme Court, you might well have thought that a majority of the court would have rolled over and played dead when an assortment of voting rights groups marched in and filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of both the state legislative maps and the congressional district map. But that’s not what happened.
- [Chief Justice Maureen] O’Connor is no fan of partisan gerrymandering, whether done by Republicans or Democrats. In her written opinion Wednesday, concurring with the majority, she said something rather extraordinary:
- “Having now seen firsthand that the current Ohio Redistricting Commission – comprised of statewide elected officials and partisan legislators – is seemingly unwilling to put aside partisan concerns as directed by the people’s vote, Ohioans may opt to pursue further constitutional amendment to replace the current commission with a truly independent, nonpartisan commission that more effectively distances the redistricting process from partisan politics.”