New York High Court Throws Out Democrat Gerrymandered Congressional Map “Drawn With An Unconstitutional Partisan Intent”
“there is record support for the determination of both courts below that the district lines for congressional races were drawn with an unconstitutional partisan intent”
New York State Democrats designed a congressional redistricting map that was so egregious that a judge threw it out, Judge Throws Out NY State’s Democrat Gerrymandered Congressional Map “Unconstitutionally Drawn With Political Bias”.
The Appellate Division, the intermediary appeal court, upheld the trial judge’s decision as to congressional redistricting.
The Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, heard argument on April 26:
The Court of Appeals just ruled, throwing out the Democrat map and appointing a special master to redraw the districts.
From the Opinion:
In 2014, the People of the State of New York amended the State Constitution to adopt historic reforms of the redistricting process by requiring, in a carefully structured process, the creation of electoral maps by an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) and by declaring unconstitutional certain undemocratic practices such as partisan and racial gerrymandering. No one disputes that this year, during the first redistricting cycle to follow adoption of the 2014 amendments, the IRC and the legislature failed to follow the procedure commanded by the State Constitution. A stalemate within the IRC resulted in a breakdown in the mandatory process for submission of electoral maps to the legislature. The legislature responded by creating and enacting maps in a nontransparent manner controlled exclusively by the dominant political party — doing exactly what they would have done had the 2014 constitutional reforms never been passed. On these appeals, the primary questions before us are whether this failure to follow the prescribed constitutional procedure warrants invalidation of the legislature’s congressional and state senate maps and whether there is record support for the determination of both courts below that the district lines for congressional races were drawn with an unconstitutional partisan intent. We answer both questions in the affirmative and therefore declare the congressional and senate maps void. As a result, judicial oversight is required to facilitate the expeditious creation of constitutionally conforming maps for use in the 2022 election and to safeguard the constitutionally protected right of New Yorkers to a fair election.
As pointed out before, this has national implications. Democrats were set to pick up 3-4 seats in NY based solely on redistricting. If the 2022 midterms were closer than is being predicted, that could be the difference in control of the House. The NY Times assesses the hurt to Democrats:
National Democrats had been counting on the maps that the State Legislature approved in February to pick up as many as three new seats this fall and offset redistricting gains by Republicans in states they control. With Democratic gains likely to be erased in New York, Republicans are on track to make modest gains nationally, easing their path to retaking control of the House of Representatives this fall.
The ruling makes New York the most prominent state so far this cycle to have a map stricken over partisan gerrymandering. Courts in Ohio, North Carolina and Alabama have all found instances of partisan or racial gerrymandering by Republicans so far, and the courts are widely expected to scrutinize new lines in Florida that overwhelmingly favor Republicans. And in Maryland, lawmakers were ordered to redraw an “extreme gerrymander” that favored Democrats.
The court’s findings could also undermine Democrats’ attempts to position themselves as the party of voting rights and could cast their attacks on Republican gerrymandering efforts as hypocritical.
Breaking: NY's top court throws out Dems' congressional map and delays June 28 primary, depriving them of their most critical gerrymander of the 2022 cycle. https://t.co/yNlPes1FVN pic.twitter.com/9nRJjGRHyy
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) April 27, 2022
— Tara Rosenblum (@tararosenblum) April 27, 2022
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