Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Melody Stewart and Jennifer Brunner joined Donnelly’s opinion. Justices Sharon Kennedy, Patrick Fischer and R. Patrick DeWine formed the dissent in a jointly-written opinion.
“It is impossible to draw a map with equally populated districts that contains fewer county splits and still meets the other criteria of the amendment,” the dissenting opinion read. “So what the majority is essentially saying is: we don’t like the legislature’s choices of counties to divide; it should have divided different ones. But that’s a matter of policy preference—it has nothing to do with the law.”
The maps were signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in November.
Critics contended the maps unfairly favored Republicans and unfairly split three Democratic counties —Hamilton, Summit and Cuyahoga — among multiple districts.
In the majority opinion, Donnelly wrote: “When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins. That perhaps explains how a party that generally musters no more than 55% of the statewide popular vote is positioned to reliably win anywhere from 75 percent to 80% of the seats in the Ohio congressional delegation. By any rational measure, that skewed result just does not add up.”