UNITED STATES NEWS

Parties face off in court over OH legislative maps

Apr 24, 2012, 6:59 AM

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The fate of Ohio’s newly drawn legislative map is in the balance Tuesday as lawyers spar before the Ohio Supreme Court over whether Republicans who controlled the process gerrymandered the lines for political gain outside of public view.

Justices are set to hear arguments in a constitutional challenge brought by Democrats on behalf of a group of affected voters in January. The high court has said it will time its decision not to affect the 2012 presidential race in the closely watched swing state.

Democrats want the map thrown out on grounds that Republican state leaders who controlled the process violated provisions of the Ohio Constitution, including a prohibition against splitting up communities. The litigation says the maps of 99 House and 33 Senate districts split cities, counties and other community units more than 250 times, seeking political advantage for Republican candidates.

They also want the maps declared invalid because of alleged violations of the state open-meetings law that occurred during their creation. Court filings include accounts of majority Republicans who controlled the process conducting map-making work in a secret hotel room near the Statehouse but out of view of the public.

State officials named in the lawsuit, including Gov. John Kasich and Senate President Tom Niehaus, have responded that politics is an inevitable and acceptable part of the process for drawing legislative lines _ it just can’t be the exclusive motivator. They argue nothing in the state Constitution requires absolute neutrality when it comes to creating state House and Senate districts.

They want opponents to be required to prove _ district by district, and beyond a reasonable doubt _ that politics was their sole consideration. That’s because they don’t believe it can be done.

Officials defending the map say the role of party politics is implied by the fact Ohio places authority for the process in the hands of a five-member Apportionment Board of elected officials. The panel this year included Kasich, Niehaus, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Auditor David Yost, all Republicans; and House Minority Leader Armond Budish, a Democrat.

The Apportionment Board voted 4-1 along party lines in the fall to accept the new map. It was filed with Husted’s office in September and is intended to be in place through 2021.

Ohio redraws legislative districts every 10 years to reflect population shifts identified in the U.S. census.

Republicans and Democrats were given similar sums of taxpayer money to cover supplies, software, office space and consulting in what’s called the apportionment process. In a separate proceeding, Republicans have questioned the propriety of how Democrats spent some of their money.

The seven-member Supreme Court is made up of six Republicans and one Democrat.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Ready to renew your US passport? You can now apply online

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s an easier way to renew your passport — online. The State Department has opened a trial run allowing a limited number of people to apply for their updated travel documents with a few clicks. You can’t just start anytime — windows will open at midday Eastern time each day and then […]

36 minutes ago

Associated Press

You don’t think corn dogs are haute cuisine? These chefs, using alligator sausage, beg to differ.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stefani De Palma, an award-winning chef and head of the a team vying to represent the Americas in a French culinary competition in January, knew she wanted her team’s work to feature flavors of her native California. The challenge at the Bocuse d’Or Americas competition this week in New Orleans was […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Attorney charged in voting machine tampering case announces run for Michigan Supreme Court

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An attorney charged in connection with an effort to illegally access and tamper with voting machines in Michigan after the 2020 election said Thursday that he’s running for the state’s high court. Republican Matthew DePerno, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, made the announcement on the social platform X. “After […]

1 hour ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Do Phoenix Police officers do an excellent job? Mike Broomhead thinks so

Do Phoenix Police officers do an excellent job? Mike Broomhead thinks so

3 hours ago

Associated Press

North Carolina judges grapple with defining ‘fair’ elections in redistricting suit

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina judges deciding whether a redistricting lawsuit claiming a state constitutional right to “fair” elections can go to trial questioned Thursday their ability to scrutinize district boundaries that way or to define what “fair” means. A panel of three trial judges listened to arguments on a motion by Republican legislative […]

3 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

Sponsored Content by Collins Comfort Masters

Here's how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

Parties face off in court over OH legislative maps