Appeals judge throws out state assembly cards
The New York State Assembly cards passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul in February are void, according to a decision by the state Court of Appeals on Friday.
The now dropped Assembly District lines will remain in place for the June 28 primary and November 8 general election.
“It was a great day, not just for me, not just for the other petitioners, but for all New Yorkers who care about the law and the constitution,” said the president of the New York Young Republican. Club, Gavin Wax, who filed the original challenge against the state Assembly cards. “Today is the day we took on the Albany machine and we won.”
State Appeals Judge Susanna Molina Rojas ruled that the Assembly maps were invalid because the legislature drew its own lines after the Independent State Redistricting Commission failed. did not offer a second set of cards. The Legislative Assembly rejected the commission’s initial proposals after the commissioners failed to reach a consensus.
Governor Hochul’s office says it is reviewing the decision.
The office of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie declined to comment.
“This is a huge victory for democracy in New York City,” said plaintiff Gary Greenberg, a Hudson Valley Democrat and activist. “Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader [Andrea] Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul wasted millions of taxpayer dollars defending unconstitutional lines.
“…Any incumbents who vote to protect their political careers rather than the will of the people should be removed from office.”
Last year, the legislature passed a bill to allow lawmakers to redraw the maps if the commission has not completed its task. The language of the state constitution on the commission proposing subsequent maps is ambiguous.
“That’s what led to today’s decision,” said Jeff Wice, an election and redistricting lawyer and senior fellow at New York School of Law.
The New York County Supreme Court will determine the process for redrawing Assembly maps for the 2024 election.
“The request to postpone the 2022 assembly primary election is denied in any event, as the redesign and implementation of a new assembly map ahead of a 2022 primary election delayed even until September is, at this late date, no longer feasible”, according to the judgment.
CUNY Graduate Center Redistricting & You Mapping Toolwhich allows a user to view and compare current and proposed congressional and legislative electoral lines, added a note to the site regarding Friday’s decision invalidating the new Assembly precincts.