ACLU sues Ohio for partisan gerrymandering
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ACLU sues Ohio for partisan gerrymandering

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday challenging Ohio’s US congressional map as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.

The ACLU is challenging the Ohio federal congressional map on the basis of violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and Article I of the US Constitution.

In the complaint, the ACLU points out that Ohio is consistently a swing state—it went for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 while going for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. In this decade, Republicans have secured 51 to 59 percent of the total statewide vote in congressional elections. In 2012 the Republicans received 51 percent of the congressional vote and the Republicans won 75 percent of the congressional seats. The map consistently has provided a 12-4 seat advantage to the Republican Party.

By entrenching the party in power and insulating it from meaningful accountability to the electorate, partisan gerrymandering substantially burdens voters’ fundamental rights, including (1) their First Amendment right to associate for the advancement of political beliefs, to express political views, and to participate in the political process … (2) their First and Fourteenth Amendment right to “cast a meaningful vote,” … and (3) their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection and treatment under the law. … Not only does partisan gerrymandering violate citizen’s; rights under the Constitution, it also goes beyond the powers granted to states under Article I.

In the past term, the US Supreme Court has heard two different cases on partisan gerrymandering in both Maryland and Wisconsin [JURIST reports].