Federal Judges Won't Delay Order For Ohio To Draw New Congressional Map
The panel of three federal judges that ruled Ohio's Congressional map unconstitutional has denied a request to delay their order to draw a new map by June 14.
Soon after Friday’s ruling struck down the congressional map as an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed an emergency stay request to delay the drawing of a new map while he appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The judges rejected the request, saying that the court "has allowed the State the opportunity to cure its own unconstitutional gerymander. The Court continues to hope that the State will take that opportunity."
In an emailed statement, Yost says he's already working on a further appeal.
"This was expected," Yost wrote. "The State is entitled to appellate review of the invented legal standard in the trial court’s decision, and will ask the Supreme Court to stay the decision pending its ruling on similar cases already before it."
The Supreme Court is already considering challenges against maps from Maryland and North Carolina.
In his stay request, Yost argued that drawing a new map now would likely cause confusion, especially since voters already approved a new redistricting process that will take occur in 2021.
“If this Court’s ruling were to be affirmed, the voters of Ohio will have to vote under at least three different congressional district maps in three consecutive general elections,” Yost wrote.
But the ACLU and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, which sued over Ohio's map, accused the state of trying to "run out the clock" to draw a map in time for the 2020 election.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose repeated his comments Thursday, saying he'll work to administer fair elections in 2020 "pending the conclusion of the judicial process."
The original ruling demands the state must draw a new Congressional district map by June 14. If that deadline is missed or if the court finds the new map unconstitutional, the court could step in and draw a new map itself.
Democratic state lawmakers have called for Republican leadership to start the map-drawing process already. Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes noted the map deadline comes two weeks before the state budget is due.
"Let’s not give the opportunity to mess it up and get it right by starting early," Sykes says. "Proper preparation is exactly what we should be doing.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.