NY Appeals Court Shuts Down New Congressional Map Designed to 'Favor Democrats'
With upcoming elections, cities and states are finalizing and submitting their congressional redistricting maps.
But in New York, an appellate court found that the 2022 congressional map illegally favored Democrats, The Hill reported.
The court ruled that the districts were “drawn to discourage competition.” The court then gave the state until the end of the month to draw a new map.
The five-judge panel in Rochester said that the Democratic legislative leader had drawn the new House map “knowingly ignoring the will of voters who recently approved a constitutional amendment outlawing the practice,” the New York Times reported.
“We are satisfied that petitioners established beyond a reasonable doubt that the Legislature acted with partisan intent,” a three-judge majority wrote in its opinion. Two judges dissented in the ruling.
This ruling marks the second setback for the Democratic mapmakers.
“[A]nd this time it came in an appellate court that was viewed as generally friendly to the party,” the 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,” Michael Li, senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice told the New York 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,” Li added.
Democrats’ attorneys tried to argue that the maps were fair to Republicans, protected minority voting rights and reflected the population loss in the upstate communities of the state, WNBC News reported.
Republicans only represent about 22 percent of all registered voters in New York and currently hold eight of the state’s 27 seats in Congress.
However, after the 2020 census, New York now gets one less seat in Congress.
The new maps would have given Democrats a strong majority of registered voters in 22 of the 26 congressional districts in the state.
In the judges’ ruling, they said that the map was “without any Republican input, and the map was adopted by the legislature without a single Republican vote n favor of it,” Fox News reported.
Despite the ruling, Gov. Kathy Hochul and other leaders are expected to appeal the decision to the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, The Times reported.
The judges of that court, who were all appointed by Democrat governors, have indicated that they might render a final verdict as soon as next week.
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