New York’s highest court blocks congressional map drawn by Democrats for gerrymandering

The court ruled that a new map should be created for the 2022 election. New York’s primary election is scheduled for June 28, but the justices wrote that it will “likely be necessary” to move the election to the Congress in August.

The decision is a blow to Democrats, as they viewed redistricting in New York as one of their best chances to shape district lines in their favor. New York lost a congressional seat after the 2020 census, and the blocked map would have given Democrats an advantage in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts.

Two lower courts had already ruled that the map, which was drawn and passed by Democrats in the New York Legislature and signed by Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, was an unconstitutional gerrymander.

On Wednesday, the judges concluded that the map had been “drawn for an impermissible partisan purpose” and “to discourage competition”.

Former New York U.S. Representative John Faso, one of the Republicans leading the challenge to the map, called the court’s decision a “historic decision in New York.”

“The Court’s decision today really sets a marker for future legislatures to explicitly follow the exact process contained in the constitutional amendment,” Faso said. “And that will force future legislatures, whether they’re controlled by Republicans or Democrats, whether they’re a supermajority or a small majority, that will force cooperation.”

In the 4-3 decision, the court also found that the process in which the Congressional map was drawn “violated” the state constitution. A 2014 amendment to the New York constitution created an independent redistricting commission that was obligated to draw a plan for the congressional map and present that plan to the state legislature for a vote. After the commission’s first sets of district lines failed in the Legislative Assembly, the commission did not submit a second plan. At that time, the state legislature drew the now blocked map.

Instead of allowing the Democratic-led state legislature to pass a new map, Wednesday’s ruling sent the matter back to lower court judge Patrick McCallister, allowing him to work with a special master to draw the map. . McCallister has already named Jonathan Cervas as a special master and said the new Congressional card will be released by May 24.

The New York State Board of Elections is beginning to prepare to move some of the state’s primary elections to account for the rejection of the state’s Congressional map and Senate map.

“State Council staff stands ready to assist the Supreme Court in any way we are called upon to quickly develop a new political calendar for an August primary for the State Senate and State House of Representatives. States,” John Conklin, director of public information for the National Board of Elections, said in a statement.

New York is one of four states without active congressional maps, joining Missouri, New Hampshire and Kansas, whose maps were blocked on Monday.

This story has been updated with additional information.


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