A legislative map drawn in 2011 by the state apportionment board is constitutional, a deeply divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. The 4-to-3 court ruling means the once-a-decade drawn map, which currently tilts heavily in favor of Republican candidates who would vie for seats in Ohio’s 99 House districts or 33 Senate district, will remain in place. The map was drawn by the Republican-controlled apportionment board in September 2011.
Democrats sued in January 2012, claiming the map violated Article 11 of Ohio’s Constitution, which requires that legislative districts be compact and contiguous and that local units of governments — such as, counties, townships, cities and villages — not be split unnecessarily.
Republicans defended the map, saying Democrats were playing politics with the longstanding apportionment board process in order to gain momentum for Issue 2, a constitutional referendum backed by Democrats that would have changed the map-drawing process. Issue 2 was defeated by voters during the Nov. 6 election.
The court’s majority, led by Justice Terrence O’Donnell, sided with the Republicans. O’Donnell said for the court to rule in favor of Democrats and impose a drastically different map would have violated a provision of Article 11 which requires the apportionment board to draw a map with district boundaries similar to previously drawn legislative maps.