New York’s highest court rejects Democrats’ proposed congressional map
New York’s highest court on Wednesday rejected the new congressional boundaries proposed by the Democratic majority in the state legislature, siding with Republicans who claimed the new map violated the constitution and heavily favored Democrats.
The state’s Court of Appeals said state lawmakers did not have the power to pass the congressional and state Senate maps following the failure of an independent redistricting commission to reach a consensus.
Additionally, the judges said the boundaries of the new map were gerrymandered to the Democrats’ favor which violated the 2014 constitutional amendment intended to avoid political partisanship during redistricting.
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,” the ruling read.
The court noted that it is “likely” necessary that the congressional and state Senate primary elections will need to be postponed from June to August.
The judges sent the case back to the lower court that previously ordered the legislature to redraw the map by April 30 or else a court-appointed expert would do the job.
The ruling came the same day Democrats, represented by attorney Marc Elias, filed a lawsuit in a Leon County, Florida, circuit court where the plaintiffs asked the judge to block the new congressional voting map passed by the state legislature and signed off on by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican.
More than two weeks ago, after a Maryland judge struck down a Democratic-drawn map as unconstitutional, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan approved a congressional map that keeps one safe Republican seat and seven Democrat-held districts. However, one of those seven seats is more competitive.
Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, called the present situation a “big mess” and wondered if the primary would still happen on June 28 and if the legislature would get involved with redrawing the maps with the court-appointed special master.
“I think there should be some conjunction with the state legislature and the special master,” he told The Washington Times. “They should be working together. We are talking and trying to figure out how to make this thing right so that we can have some certainty in this election.”
New York Republicans celebrated the ruling and excoriated Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, for signing off on the map.
“The Hochulmander has officially been defeated. This is a huge victory for free and fair elections in New York. This case rose to the highest level of the state’s court system and at every stage, even the partisan-appointed Democrat judges couldn’t swallow how filthy this gerrymander was,” New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement.
“It bears reminding that in her first major interview after ascending to governor Kathy Hochul admitted that was her intention all along. This was an outrageous, brazen attempt to rig the election and violate the constitutional rights of every citizen in this state and Democrats suffered the defeat they deserved. Next up, November,” he said.