New York court rejects congressional maps drawn by Democrats 2022-04-28 17:05:59


ALBANI, NY (Associated Press) – The New York Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected new congressional maps that were widely seen as favoring Democrats, largely agreeing with Republican voters who argued that county boundaries were unconstitutionally manipulated.

The decision could delay the New York primaries by as much as two months and potentially deal a fatal blow to Democrats’ hopes of national redistricting, which have relied heavily on their ability to run New York state to increase the number of seats they can win in New York state. The Congress.

State Court of Appeals Democrat-led legislature said It lacked the power to redraw the maps of Congress and the Senate after the independent redistricting committee tasked with drafting new maps failed to reach consensus.

The justices also said lawmakers have shifted congressional maps in favor of Democrats, in violation of a 2014 constitutional amendment designed to circumvent political maneuvering in redistricting.

The Court of Appeal has handed over the power to map a new area to an expert, known as the President of the Special Court, rather than the legislature.

“Immediate judicial intervention is necessary and appropriate to ensure the people’s right to free and fair elections,” said the court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice Janet Deveore.

The ruling did not specify a deadline for the adoption of the new maps. But the judges said they would take the matter up to a lower court in the state, which would “adopt constitutional maps with all haste.”

Deviore wrote that it would “probably be necessary” to move the congressional and Senate primaries from June 28 to August, to give time for re-maps and for candidates and election officials to adapt their plans.

The state election board said it does not expect the initial date to change for other races, including the governor and the House of Representatives.

The decision comes as a major blow to Democrats in their struggle to prevent Republicans from regaining control of the US House of Representatives.

Because of new demographic data from the 2020 census, New York is set to lose one seat in Congress in 2021. Maps devised by the legislature would have given Democrats a large majority of registered voters in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts. Currently, Republicans currently hold eight of the state’s 27 seats.

Democrats hope their party’s redistricting map in New York will help offset expected losses in other states where Republicans control the state government.

“While we are disappointed with the court’s ruling, we remain confident of Democrats’ victories up and down the November ballot,” said Jay Jacobs, chair of the New York Democratic Party.

Former New York Republican Representative John Faso called it a “historic decision” and told reporters on a Wednesday night call that the ruling is a signal for future legislatures to follow the rhetoric of the state’s voter-approved redistricting act.

“It will impose cooperation between the two parties, and this is what the people voted for,” he said.

Under a process passed by voters in 2014, new New York district maps were to have been drawn by an independent commission. But that body, made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, could not agree on a single set of maps. Then, the Democratic-controlled legislature stepped in and drew up its own maps, and it was soon signed into law by Democratic Governor Kathy Hochhol, a Democrat.

The Court of Appeals, made up of judges appointed entirely by Democratic governors, sided with Republican prosecutors who argued that the legislature evaded the process set out in the 2014 reforms, including a provision in the state constitution that bars redistricting for partisan gain.

“The Legislature responded by creating and enacting maps in a non-transparent manner controlled exclusively by the dominant political party – and doing exactly what they would have done had the 2014 constitutional reforms not passed,” Deviore wrote.

Four of the seven appeals court justices joined the majority view, while a fifth agreed that the Senate and Congress maps were unconstitutional on procedural reasons.

Democrats’ lawyers argued that the legislature was legally allowed to craft its own maps when the redistricting committee failed to reach consensus. Democrats also said their maps reflect population shifts and unite similar geographic and cultural communities, separated by previous rounds of manipulation.

But the justices have tasked Democrats with crafting the maps that have reduced the number of competitive districts, and essentially asking the court to “undo” the 2014 reforms.

In the majority view, Daveore said supporting the polluting process would only encourage the revolutionaries involved in the RDC process to avoid future consensus as well, “thus allowing the legislature to step in and create new maps just by engineering a stalemate anywhere. Operation IRC”.

Two lower-level courts have also ruled the maps unconstitutional and given the legislature an April 30 deadline to draw new maps or leave the task to a court-appointed expert. That deadline has now been set aside.

In the meantime, candidates have already begun campaigning in the new districts, although they are unsure whether these districts will still be in place by the time voting begins.


Denver-based Associated Press writer Nicholas Riccardi contributed to this report.