NY Court Rules Dems Illegally Gerrymandered New District Lines

NY Court Rules Dems Illegally Gerrymandered New District Lines NY Court Rules Dems Illegally Gerrymandered New District Lines (Danielfela/Dreamstime.com)

By Eric Mack | Thursday, 21 April 2022 07:46 PM

A New York court ruled Thursday the state's latest House district maps drawn by Democrats illegally favor Democrats.

The state has banned partisan gerrymandering in its Constitution and Republicans had argued the districts redrawn by the Democrat-controlled Legislature violated that ban. A five-judge appellate court panel agreed with Republicans and the case is expected to go to the state Court of Appeals, The New York Times reported.

"Like other state courts around the country, New York courts aren't finding the question of whether a map is a partisan gerrymander a particularly hard one to decide," Brennan Center for Justice's Michael Li told the Times. "It's very hard to defend a map like New York's, and ultimately if it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck."

Republicans are not going to move to strike the state Legislature-drawn maps, according to plaintiffs' spokesman John Faso, who called Thursday's decision a "great victory."

The district lines are crucial to the November midterm elections and, in a deep-blue state of New York, Democrats hoped a big victory in the state would help stem the widely anticipated red wave through the U.S.

The panel ruled Democrats drew the maps under review "to discourage competition and favor Democrats" and they knowingly ignored the ban on partisan gerrymandering, according to the Times.

"We are satisfied that petitioners established beyond a reasonable doubt that the Legislature acted with partisan intent in violation" of a constitutional statute from 2014, according to three judges on the panel in the majority opinion. Two dissented in the minority.

The New York Court of Appeals has judges all appointed by Democrat governors and it has indicted it could make a final determination in the case as soon as next week, the Times reported.

Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy believes the court will ultimately permit the Democrat-drawn lines to stand.

"We always knew this case would end at the Court of Appeals and look forward to being heard on our appeal to uphold the congressional map as well," he told the Times.

The ruling Thursday orders the Democrat-led Legislature to redraw the district maps by April 30 or leave the process to a court-appointed neutral expert. The ruling did not weigh in on whether the June primaries should be delayed until August, the Times reported.

The Democrats' maps handed their party a clear edge in 22 of the state's 26 districts, despite the fact Republicans currently hold eight House seats.

Original Article