Sunday, June 5, 2022

OH Chief Justice Finds Flaws In Federal Judges Redistricting Opinion

Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor finds Flaws in Redistricting Reasoning of Federal Judges. She issued another concurring Opinion worthy of her position as the Highest Legal Officer in the State. She schooled Two Federal Judges in how they have enabled “a stunning rebuke of the rule of law” by the RepublicanMmajority on the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

Her Opinion was part of the State Supreme Court Rejecting, for a Fifth time, a proposed Map for Redrawing State Legislative Districts. The 4-3 Majority explained again, that the Commission Failed to meet the Standard set by Voters in Amending the Ohio Constitution.

In 2015, Voters overwhelmingly approved a process designed to halt Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering, via Transparency and Bipartisanship. The language bars Maps that unduly favor Pne Political party. Yet the Republicans on the Commission have paid little heed, approving Maps in Defiance of the State Constitution, High Court, and Voters.

Consider that recent Proposals would require House Democrats to win the overall Vote by 8 Percentage points to achieve a Majority by One Seat.

In her Concurrence, the Chief Justice adopted something of a “don’t you see what you’re doing” approach. She reminded how the Federal Court once said “we must provide the state as much time as possible to fix its own problems.” Then the 2-1 Panel worried about time, the State needing to conduct a Primary Election for State Legislative Seats.

It gave the Redistricting Commission until May 28th to come up with a New Map, and added a twist. If the Commission didn’t act, the Federal Court would order an Aug. 2nd Primary using a Legislative District Map already Rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.

O’Connor argued that in doing so, the Federal Judges, both nominated by Trump, did Not permit the State to fix its Problem. Rather, they “provided the Republican commission members not only with a roadmap of how to avoid discharging their duties but also a green light to further delay these proceedings.”

The Federal Court rewarded brazen Resistance and Inaction. Predictably, the Lawsuit was brought by Republican allies, an opening to Dodge the Ohio Supreme Court if needed. The Federal Judges say they chose “the best of our bad options.” Still, they had Better choices. They could have selected a Map drawn by Two Consultants, One Democratic, the other Republican.

At one turn, the Federal Judges argue that just because a District Map has been Rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court “does not prevent this court from imposing it — for one election cycle only — when faced with federal court violations, other state law concerns and concerns about election administration on a short timeline.” O’Connor barely conceals her Amazement at what they overlook: All of their concerns stem from the Commission’s behavior!

The Federal Court didn’t help its cause when it naively, or disingenuously, described the Commission Members as “public servants who still view partisan advantage as subordinate to the rule of law.”

The Chief Justice finds particularly galling the Federal Court expressing its hope that the Commission and the Supreme Court would “work together to find a solution.” O’Connor explains that First, the Court doesn’t have a Seat at the table. It isn’t part of the give and take. Second, she points out that “setting aside differences and working together is the responsibility of the commission members in upholding their oaths of office as elected officials — oaths that are taken not to ensure that one political party has a supermajority but to obey Ohio’s Constitution.”

O’Connor adds a Footnote that cites Frank LaRose (R), the Secretary of State and a Commission Member, stressing the Oath to explain why he cannot accept a Redistricting Plan Rejected by a Majority of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Yet, a Federal Court now has given its Approval. In that way, LaRose cuts a telling Profile. It has been disappointing, if not surprising, to see how supine Republican Statewide Officials have been. It is their job to represent Ohio as a whole. LaRose has made a career as the good guy willing to work across the aisle.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) also has cultivated such a reputation. In this moment, they have been mostly silent, unmoved by what Ohio Voters expressed emphatically, let alone by the fair Maps and representation that would serve the State well.

Their fellow Republican, Maureen O’Connor, has been at the lead, the Court an actual bipartisan actor as she has joined Three Democratic colleagues. In an earlier Concurrence, the Chief Justice argued for Ohioans to consider an Independent Redistricting Commission, this Experiment having Failed. Now she has shown how Two Federal Judges aided Statehouse Republicans in defying the Law.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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