Sykes, Yuko Comment on U.S. Supreme Court Gerrymandering Cases
June 27, 2019
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on cases out of Maryland and North Carolina, deciding that partisan gerrymandering cases cannot be resolved by federal courts. The ruling means a similar, pending Ohio case against the state’s congressional district maps will not go forward.
“I am disappointed by the court’s decision today, but Ohioans have already spoken and they overwhelmingly rejected rigged congressional maps,” said Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights). “I am hopeful that we will soon have fairer congressional districts that better represent the diverse voices of all Ohioans.”
Earlier this year, a federal court panel ruled Ohio’s congressional district map unconstitutional. The State of Ohio appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the case was put on hold pending the Maryland and North Carolina decisions.
“Though the Supreme Court refused to weigh in on Maryland and North Carolina’s maps, they did recognize that the act of partisan gerrymandering is unjust and it undermines our democracy,” said state Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). “Luckily, we do not have to rely on the court’s decision today to ensure fair districts in the future because Ohio voters stepped in and decided for themselves that they want change. We still have the opportunity to fix the injustices of the current districts and preserve the integrity of our elections when we redraw congressional districts in 2021.”
Ohio’s current congressional map, drawn by Republicans eight years ago, divided 23 counties and 73 cities and townships and created districts like the “Snake on the Lake” which extends from Toledo to Cleveland. The congressional districts also allowed Republicans to dominate 12 of the state’s 16 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, despite the electorate being largely evenly divided between parties.
Sens. Yuko and Sykes were instrumental in negotiating the state’s successful effort to reform the redistricting process that will follow the 2020 U.S. Census. The bipartisan plan was approved by Ohio voters in May 2018.