State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) recently shared her experiences as a state lawmaker in a severely gerrymandered state in a bipartisan amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Wisconsin case, Gill v. Whitford, has implications for Ohio’s state legislative districts, which suffer similar constitutional defects. Plaintiffs in the case allege extreme partisan gerrymandering deprived them of their First Amendment right of association and the Equal Protection of the laws guaranteed to them by the 14th Amendment.
“When the minority party is locked out of the legislative process, so are their constituents,” said Rep. Clyde. “We cannot effectively serve the people of Ohio when half of Ohioans’ concerns and preferences are ignored. I have seen the quality of work at the Statehouse go downhill in my four terms here because of the gerrymandered map that was drawn in a ‘bunker’ and approved by a short-sighted majority in 2011. We need to turn this dysfunctionality around and that is why I joined state lawmakers from Ohio and across the country to share my experiences in the brief."
In the brief, Rep. Clyde and former Rep. Mike Curtin discussed the effects of gerrymandering on the atmosphere and functionality of the House of Representatives. They are quoted throughout the brief.
A bipartisan collection of 65 current and former state legislators, 26 Republicans and 39 Democrats, from eight states signed onto the brief. Other Ohio signatories include House Minority Whip Nickie J. Antonio (Democrat), former State Rep. Joan W. Lawrence of Ohio (Republican), former State Sen. Priscilla D. Mead (Republican), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (Democrat), Columbus City Councilman and former State Rep. Michael Stinziano (Democrat), House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (Democrat) and House Assistant Minority Whip Emilia Strong Sykes (Democrat).
The brief can be viewed here.