US Supreme Court sends congressional map back to Ohio Supreme Court, which rejected it last year
The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered Ohio’s highest court to reconsider its ruling that the current map for Ohio’s 15 congressional districts is unconstitutional. This comes after the case in which the justices rejected the independent state legislature theory, which claimed state lawmakers have ultimate power in regulating federal elections, not state courts.
This could mean the current map is ruled constitutional, or a new one will be drawn later this year.
When a split Ohio Supreme Court rejected congressional maps drawn by Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission, it ordered lawmakers to pass a constitutional map within 30 days. The court's three Democrats were joined by Republican Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor in two rulings that the congressional maps submitted by Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission was unconstitutional.
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said the court doesn’t have that power. He and other Republicans had planned to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on that. And he said the court has decided the maps will be reexamined after the rejection of the independent state legislature theory in the Moore v. Harper case.
"My interpretation of that is, I believe that the U.S. Supreme Court is saying 'Ohio Supreme Court, you overextended yourselves. You do not have the jurisdiction to tell the legislature how to draw the map,'" Huffman said. "In fact, our Constitution says the court can't draw the map. So the case needs to be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court."
Because of legal timelines, the unconstitutional map ended up being used and 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats were elected in November.
O'Connor, who had joined the court's three Democrats in all the rulings that the maps were unconstitutional, left the court because of term limits. New Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican, voted to uphold all maps that were ruled unconstitutional last year. Kennedy was on the court when she was elected chief justice, and Republican Joe Deters, the Hamilton County prosecutor and a former state treasurer, was appointed to fill her seat.