Gov.-elect Mike DeWine (R-OH) appears to be making every last day of his tenure as Attorney General count. This week, DeWine filed a motion to have an upcoming gerrymandering lawsuit tossed out. The suit would mandate the redrawing of all of Ohio’s 16 congressional districts before the 2020 election.
In May of 2018, a group of plaintiffs, including one Democratic constituent from all 16 districts, filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the current congressional districts were:
an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander that violates the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article I of the United States Constitution….the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history.
The primary force behind the legal challenge is the Ohio League of Women Voters. Should the suit be successful, the state would be required to redraw the congressional districts before the 2020 election with new procedures that would be a radical departure from the current standard.
DeWine seeks to have the suit thrown out on the grounds that the plaintiffs cannot prove harm and that there is no legal standing for the case.
In May, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to reform the current system of redistricting. Traditionally, following each census, the party in power would control the redistricting process. Issue 1 will still permit the ruling party to draw the map, however, the two largest political parties must have at least 50 percent approval of the map before it can be implemented.
The controversial current district map was drafted by the Republican party in 2011, per existing rules.
Currently, the trial is scheduled for March 4.
This will be the second attempt at dismissing the lawsuit; the first occurred in August of last year. The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up several cases regarding the redistricting process, but has yet to make an official ruling.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine.
Background Photo “Ohio Capital” by Alexander Smith. CC BY-SA 3.0