Posted: November 27, 2012
Ohio Supreme Court Upholds State Apportionment Plan
The Ohio Supreme Court has denied declaratory and injunctive relief in a challenge to the state’s current apportionment plan for the Ohio General Assembly. Establishing that the Apportionment Board has considerable discretion in how to apply constitutional requirements regarding compactness, contiguity, and minimizing splits within county and local governmental units, four members of the court held that “[t]he role of a supreme court in considering constitutional challenges to an apportionment plan is restricted to determining whether relators have met their burden to prove that the plan adopted by the board is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.” The court found no constitutional mandate of political neutrality, as long as the other constitutional requirements are met. The three dissenters took issue with the majority’s allocation of the burdens of proof and with the majority’s approach to the relationship between the constitutional requirements of compactness and minimal splitting within single governmental units.