New York’s Court of Appeals throws out 2022’s non-gerrymandered Congressional maps, which will likely lead to the Democrat-controlled New York legislature redrawing the maps
As Professor Jacobson reported in the run-up to last year’s Congressional elections, the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) threw out a “Democrat Gerrymandered Congressional Map ‘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.
As we reported in July of this year:
Those maps achieved the intended purpose, minimal redistricting and competitive districts. Republicans ended up gaining four seats, but not because of gerrymandered maps, because of voters.
Think about what that means. Because, in 2022, New York’s highest court threw out Democrat gerrymandered maps, Republicans currently enjoy a wafer-thin majority in the House. But if the maps had remained as-is, the Democrats would control the House, Senate, and Presidency.
Which is exactly what they want.
So, of course, Democrats immediately launched litigation after the 2022 election to limit the damage to the 2022 election cycle, and in July of this year, as we reported, the New York Intermediate Appeals Court, the Appellate Division, agreed with the Democrats: NY Dems Get Another Run At Redistricting Republicans Out of Existence After Mid-Level Appeals Court Orders New Mapping:
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
That’s the Democrats’ motto in New York State when it comes to redistricting. We covered the story in the run up to the 2022 elections. When the supposedly non-partisan state election commission deadlocked over redistricting, Democrats who control the state legislature so furiously and outrageously gerrymandered the redistricting map so as to all but eliminate the Republican congressional delegation. The state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, found the actions violated the NY State constitution. The Court of Appeals ordered that maps prepared by a neutral expert hired by the Court be used….
Democrats hated [the new maps], so they put their go-to election lawyer, Marc Elias, on the case, and he just obtained a coup d’état from the state’s mid-level appellate court, the Appellate Division. The Appellate Division asserted that the Court of Appeals decision was only intended for one election cycle, 2022, and was not meant to be a redistricting for the entire census cycle (10 years). So the Appellate Division ordered the state redistricting commission to issue new maps….
Even the NY Times knows what comes next unless the Court of Appeals reverses – the election commission deadlocks again, and the Democratic legislature tries again to redistrict Republicans of existence:
Democrats filed a new lawsuit last year, paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, arguing that those maps were meant to be temporary and asking the courts to force the bipartisan commission to complete its work.
Though the commission would have the first shot at drawing the new maps under Thursday’s ruling, both parties expected the panel to deadlock again. That would send the final mapmaking authority back to the Legislature — only this time with the blessing of the courts.
Republicans are trying to block that possibility. On Thursday, party leaders said they would appeal.
“The Court of Appeals must overturn this ruling, or Democrats will gerrymander the map to target political opponents and protect political allies,” Representative Elise Stefanik said in a joint statement with Edward Cox, the top New York House Republican and state party chairman.
Well, we just found out that New York’s highest court has agreed with the Democrats, holding that the non-gerrymandered Congressional maps were limited to only the 2022 election cycle. From the 4-3 opinion:
Court-drawn judicial districts are generally disfavored because redistricting is predominantly legislative…[and] to prefer a court-drawn plan to a legislature’s replacement would be contrary to the ordinary and proper orientation of the political process…court-ordered redistricting [is prohibited] “except to the extent that a court is required to order the adoption of, or changes to, a redistricting plan as a remedy for a violation of law….[New York’s] 2014 constitutional reforms unambiguously promised New York’s citizens an IRC redistricting process with minimal resort to court-drawn districts—only to the extent required to remedy a violation of law.
Consistent with our opinion and the Appellate Division’s direction, the IRC should comply with its constitutional mandate by submitting to the legislature, on the earliest possible date, but in no event later than February 28, 2024, a second congressional redistricting plan and implementing legislation. Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed.
That might sound good, but it means that last year’s non-gerrymandered maps are now history, and practically speaking (based on prior experience), the New York IRC (Independent Redistricting Commission) will deadlock again as they have in the past, which will open the way for the Democrat-controlled New York State legislature to redraw its own grossly gerrymandered maps just in time for the 2024 elections.
From the blistering dissent:
Less than a decade ago, the People of this State amended the New York Constitution to mandate that partisanship be kept out of the decennial redistricting process…At their first opportunity, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) and legislature failed to follow the constitutional process for enacting redistricting legislation and disobeyed the Constitution’s anti-gerrymandering mandate, requiring this Court to act…Redistricting plans were drafted by a neutral special master in accordance with our decision in Harkenrider, certified by Supreme Court, and then used in the 2022 election, producing a fair and competitive election consistent with the overarching goals of the 2014 constitutional reforms prohibiting gerrymandering.
Today, even though the constitutionality of the existing district lines has not been substantively challenged, the majority reverses course. Recasting the judiciary’s long history of safeguarding New Yorkers’ right to free and fair elections as the problem in need of correction—with political gerrymandering meriting barely any mention in the majority decision—the Court today strictly curtails the constitutional authority of the judiciary to remedy future legislative overreach, rewriting the Constitution in order to do so…
Under the plain language of the Constitution, the maps we ordered in Harkenrider must remain “in force until the effective date of a plan based upon the subsequent federal decennial census . . . unless modified pursuant to court order” to remedy a violation of law… Since the only violation of law alleged in this proceeding is the previous breakdown of the redistricting process this Court remedied in Harkenrider, there is no constitutional basis for this Court to order a new congressional map. The majority’s holding to the contrary manufactures a new violation of law to justify overruling Harkenrider,…and elevates a failed process above the People’s substantive rights to free and fair elections. The majority is able to reach this result for one reason and one reason only: because the composition of this Court has changed.
Republicans not winning the House next year.
This was the final nail in the coffin. https://t.co/K3Pn19YUt2
— Based Patriot 2.0 (@BasedPatriot75) December 12, 2023
OH FUCK OFF STOP REDISTRICTING, ONCE IN 10 YEARS IS ENOUGH!! https://t.co/Jbe8gx6HNC
— Country Club Conservative (@alt_ccc) December 12, 2023
If Suozzi wins in Feb, the NY map will be 16-10 (was 15-11 with Santos)
A redraw in NY could pretty easily produce a 22-4 map, more than negating NC’s redraw
Pretty unbelievable that Dems will have ended up being major winners of the redistricting process after all
— Dj (@DjsokeSpeaking) December 12, 2023
Looks like we are getting new maps in New York. Redistricting here likely completely negates any pickups that Republicans received due to their recently-passed gerrymanders in North Carolina
— Blake Allen (@Blake_Allen13) December 12, 2023
It is looking like 2024 is going to be a rough go for Republicans in the House.DONATE
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