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Ohio Supreme Court rejects GOP-drawn congressional map

The court's majority said the map of U.S. House districts was drawn strategically to advantage Republicans.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the second time in less than a week, the Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a map put forth by the state's redistricting commission.

On Friday, the court turned away a new map of the state’s 15 congressional districts as gerrymandered, sending the blueprint back for another try. The 4-3 decision returns the process to the powerful Ohio Redistricting Commission.

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The court's majority said the map of U.S. House districts was drawn strategically to advantage Republicans. Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that set up a new system to avoid gerrymandering. Voting-rights and Democratic groups challenged the map as “unduly” favoring one party, a constitutional violation. 

Republicans had defended the map as “highly competitive.”

Earlier this week, the court rejected newly drawn district maps that had retained Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature, agreeing with voting rights advocates that the lines were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

The court sent the maps back to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, giving the GOP-led panel 10 days to take another crack at complying with provisions of a 2015 constitutional amendment requiring an attempt at avoiding partisan favoritism. Justices also retained jurisdiction over whatever maps the panel comes up with.

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