New congressional suit challenges redistricting map

By: - March 22, 2022 3:45 am

Photo by Getty Images.

A new lawsuit was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court to challenge the congressional redistricting map in Ohio, restarting the legal battle for federal districts.

This comes after the court said a new challenge would need to be filed on the topic of congressional redistricting because it said it did not maintain jurisdiction on the map after its last decision on Jan. 14.

The National Redistricting Action Fund filed a new lawsuit on behalf of a dozen Ohioans, including the lead plaintiffs in two previous redistricting cases, Regina Adams and Bria Bennett, demanding a less partisan map.

Attorneys made arguments similar to those made in the congressional challenge first filed in November, mainly because they most recent map “bears a striking resemblance to the plan struck down by the court on January 14, and is again infused with partisan bias.”

“It eschews sensible, compact districts that respect Ohio’s political geography precisely because doing so would not result in extreme partisan advantage at odd with Ohio’s voting patterns,” attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote.

The suit continues to accuse the Ohio Redistricting Commission of “flouting” the supreme court’s order to follow the constitution’s regulations on redistricting.

Because, they say, the newest plan is unconstitutional, court challengers have asked the court to strike it down and pause “election-related deadlines and days as appropriate,” and if necessary, adopt a plan itself.

As for the election dates, the plaintiffs said the primary date could have been moved long ago, but legislative leaders have said there is no “appetite” in the General Assembly to change the date.

“It did not have to be like this,” attorneys for the NRAF said, claiming the GA “squandered” 30 days without holding a hearing and the commission held on to their map “only to release a plan that barely changes the previous, invalidated plan.”

The NRAF lawsuit may not be the only lawsuit to rise again in the congressional fight. The League of Women Voters has said they are “still looking at our options.”

The supreme court set a Tuesday morning deadline for input on scheduling in the NRAF lawsuit.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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