Many partisan judges were elected during the 2018 Blue Wave and have been a problem for Republican redistricting efforts over the past year. While many Democrat gerrymanders were allowed to stand in New York and Illinois, GOP maps in states such as Ohio and North Carolina have been overturned. It is almost as though the major parties are operating under two sets of rules.
After the Republican-drawn map was overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday, Democrats celebrated another victory. However, that was not the end of the story. The Ohio Supreme Court issued a final decision on Friday regarding the map that was overturned. This means that the redistricting commission is not required to return to the court to approve the next map. Any challenge to the latest map must be filed in a new lawsuit.
The crying began quickly. For example, Dave Wasserman describes himself as an impartial election observer. However, by reading his comments, it is easy to notice the differences in his reactions depending on which party is being criticized. What is so disturbing about a red state (and Ohio at this point) getting a congressional map that rivals the ones drawn in blue states?
Let's get back to the details. The problem with a new lawsuit filing is the time frame. Ohio's primary is set for May 3. For obvious reasons, the new districts must be established by that date. Another option is to start from scratch with new filings, normal delays, and new lawsuits. The date of the election is not the deadline. Ballots should be printed within the week, and polling stations must be set up. As with all elections, volunteers must be organized in order to run them.
In practice, this means that the GOP could release a new map, and it would likely stand, since another lawsuit won't be able to stop it before the election. If the Ohio Supreme Court had not issued a final judgment, then perhaps any future maps would still have been subject to the previous suit. Democrats are furious that this is not the way it went down.
After a rash of partisan rulings by Democrat judges in red states, this is the relief that Republicans desperately require. It is hoped that it will hold and lead to some more pickups in November.