COLUMBUS, Ohio — Late last night, the ACLU of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Covington & Burling LLP filed a motion with the Ohio Supreme Court, requesting that a contempt hearing, which was previously postponed, be promptly conducted against four members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, following their refusal to follow the Court orders for enacting a new legislative map. The four Commissioners instead enacted legislative maps that are nearly identical to those already rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. This motion was filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, and a number of individual Ohio voters.

The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s third revised plan on March 16, and ordered the Commission to adopt an entirely new General Assembly district plan that conforms with the Ohio Constitution, and to submit the plan to the court by March 29. The ruling also required that "The commission should retain an independent map drawer – who answers to all commission members, not only to the Republican legislative leaders – to draft a plan through a transparent process."

Late yesterday afternoon, hours before the revised legislative plan was due, a majority of the Republican Commissioners suddenly scrapped the work of the bipartisan, independent mapmakers, and instead adopted a slightly edited version of the map that had been previous stricken by the Court. This abrupt abandonment of the bipartisan process came after days and days of seemingly earnest, transparent mapmaking sessions that captivated the public’s interest and drew praise from advocacy groups.

"The four Commissioners who flouted the Ohio Supreme Court’s order by their last minute jettison of the Commission’s bipartisan product, instead reenacting virtually the same gerrymandered plan that the Court had stricken, should be held in contempt. The last minute change of course was a brazen act of bad faith, apparently plotted in advance to preserve their own power. The Court must act," noted Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

"Hundreds of voters tuned in everyday to watch the independent, bipartisan mappers create statehouse maps in real time. The bipartisan process was nearly finished when the four Commissioners abruptly changed course and adopted unconstitutional maps. They should have been willing to work a few more hours to finally create the fair districts that Ohioans deserve. The Ohio Supreme Court must hold the Commissioners accountable for this unconscionable and unjustifiable power grab," stated Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

"The bait and switch political trick by the majority members on the Ohio Redistricting Commission was a disgraceful power grab. Integrity must be displayed by all parties present at the table," offered Andre Washington, president of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Read the motion below.