Ohio Supreme Court Sets Redistricting Lawsuit Schedule

The schedule potentially alleviates some timeline pressures for elections slated for next year.

click to enlarge Pictured is the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center where the Ohio Supreme Court meets. - PHOTO: COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Pictured is the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center where the Ohio Supreme Court meets.
The Ohio Supreme Court has released the schedule for court filings in the congressional redistricting lawsuit, potentially alleviating some timeline pressures for elections slated for next year.

Though the court has not scheduled oral arguments in the case, a ruling filed by the court says discovery — the collection of evidence in the case — must be completed by Dec. 8, evidence they plan to present to the court should be submitted by Dec. 10, and briefs in the case should be filed by Dec. 20.

The schedule comes after Secretary of State Frank LaRose filed a request with the court to work under a faster timeline than was requested by the National Redistricting Action Fund, who filed the lawsuit.

LaRose said the timeline they suggested, which would have set oral arguments less than a month before candidacy filing deadlines in congressional races, did not consider complicated logistical arrangements that would be needed before the May 3 primary election.

The court said in the ruling they would not allow for extensions.

A separate message from the court addressed the request by members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission to dismiss members from the lawsuit in their ORC official capacity. The court asked plaintiffs in the case to respond to the motion by Dec. 1, before justices make a ruling on the request.

Members of the now-disbanded Ohio Redistricting Commission joined together in asking the Ohio Supreme Court to dismiss the congressional redistricting case against them in a filing made public Monday afternoon.

Attorney General Dave Yost’s office wrote on behalf of Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Bob Cupp, as well as Auditor Keith Faber, state Sen. Vernon Sykes and House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes in a motion to dismiss the case and stop evidence-gathering in the case because the plaintiffs in the lawsuit “failed to allege sufficient facts to establish standing to sue the Commission (members) or the governor.”

Commission members are all asking to be removed from the lawsuit, however Cupp, Huffman and LaRose all acknowledge they can’t be removed in their “non-Commission capacities.”

In asking the court to dismiss the commission members from the case, the Attorney General’s office said plaintiff’s are suing the ORC members “for something that they did not do: draw and enact the 2021 Congressional Plan.”

“Unlike the process for state-level redistricting, the constitution contemplates a process whereby the General Assembly draws and enacts the map for new congressional districts,” the group stated in the latest court filing. “That is what happened here when the General Assembly drew and enacted the 2021 Congressional Plan by a simple majority vote as provided for by (the constitution).”

The National Redistricting Action Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of a dozen Ohio residents calling the recently redrawn congressional district lines unconstitutional and gerrymandered to dilute the votes of minority Ohioans. The House passed the map less than two weeks ago, and Gov. Mike DeWine signed it into law on Nov. 20.

The lawsuit names the leaders of the legislature, Huffman and Cupp, along with the rest of the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, who weren’t able to agree on a map after the legislature passed by their first deadline to approve congressional redistricting.

The process came back to the legislature on Nov. 1, and state Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) took the lead on Senate Bill 258, which would become the vehicle for the approved map.

This story was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.

Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Scroll to read more Ohio News articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.