Republican leaders in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate filed an appeal to the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling against the GOP-drafted congressional district map – using language similar to what has been called the theory of the independent legislature of the state.
House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima), Senate Speaker Matt Huffman (R-Lima), Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.) said in a joint statement that they believe the Ohio Supreme Court’s July 19 decision against their congressional district map was “fundamentally flawed.”
The statement read, “While many believe the Ohio Supreme Court majority misinterpreted state law, there is also the broader concern that the court has taken on a role that the federal constitution does not. not allow him to exercise. This is a matter that must be resolved by the highest court in our land. »
Republican legislative leaders said their argument was based on the election clause of the U.S. Constitution which states that “the times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature of this one…”
This is the same language used in a similar case in the United States Supreme Court between Republican legislative leaders in North Carolina and the North Carolina Superior Court.
The independent state legislature theory—which has been considered a non-traditional doctrine with no legal basis—argues that state legislators have exclusive authority over matters related to the election of members of Congress and that, therefore, such matters are outside the jurisdiction of a state supreme court.
“They are using dangerous fringe legal theory to excuse their bad behavior of rigging legislative districts to benefit themselves and their friends,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
Miller is one of a slew of voter rights advocates and community organizations who have fought against new district maps passed by Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission. They argued that these cards are gerrymandered to favor the Republican Party.
Lily: What is the Independent States Legislature Theory and what does it mean for Ohio?
The Congressional 15-district map that was rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court created 10 safe districts for Republicans, three safe districts for Democrats, and two toss-up districts that tipped in favor of Democrats.
That gives Republicans a 66% advantage for Ohio’s congressional delegation in a state that divides 54% Republicans and 46% Democrats.
Miller said they plan to fight the appeal and will likely try to get back to voters and reform the state constitution again to change the redistricting process.
“We’re not going to stop until we finally end gerrymandering here in Ohio, which will probably mean we have to go back to the polls and take mapping out of the hands of politicians, because politicians will put themselves always first rather than voters. “said Miller.
The November congressional races are based on the congressional district map that was thrown out as unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court in July.
The United States Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the North Carolina redistricting case during this session.
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