Court expert draws more pro-GOP political maps of New York
A court-appointed expert has released draft new congressional maps for New York that are more Republican-friendly than the original political maps drawn by Democrats.
Draft maps released Monday would help the GOP by creating five Republican-leaning districts and at least four other districts where Republicans would be competitive. Maps drawn by the Democratic-controlled state legislature as part of the 10-year redistricting process would have given Democrats a strong majority in 22 of 26 congressional districts, starting with elections this year. but these cards were canceled by a court.
Currently, the state has 27 congressional districts, but loses one as a result of the 2020 census. Republicans hold eight of those seats;
The proposed cards could also pit multiple holders against each other or force them to show up in new areas.
The new maps are a blow to National Democrats’ plans to draw New York-friendly maps to maximize the number of seats they could win in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Last month, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that those maps and state Senate maps were unconstitutional and failed to follow a voter-approved anti-gerrymandering process.
Under a process passed by voters in 2014, the new maps of New York’s districts were supposed to have been drawn by an independent commission. But that body, made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, could not agree on a set of cards. The Democratic-controlled legislature then stepped in and created its own maps, quickly signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat.
The appeals court, made up of judges appointed entirely by Democratic governors, sided with Republican plaintiffs who argued the legislature circumvented the process established in 2014 reforms, including a provision of the constitution of the state prohibiting the reshuffling of districts for partisan purposes.
The new maps released Monday would significantly redraw the districts of Manhattan currently held by incumbent Democratic Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, who each served in the House for nearly three decades and chaired influential committees.
Maloney, who currently represents the 12th district, said she will run again under the new 12th boundary. But Nadler, who is running 10th, said he too would run in 12th if the draft becomes permanent. Nadler said he believes the line projects unconstitutionally break down existing districts and communities.
The maps would also significantly upend the districts currently held by Democratic Representatives Mondaire Jones and Sean Patrick Maloney.
“A lot of incumbents are going to have choices to make about whether they run and what district they run in,” said Michael Li, redistricting expert at the Brennan Center for Justice.
Li said the maps were much fairer and more competitive, including in areas like Long Island, than the gerrymandered maps crafted by the legislature. But the cards appear to be drawn without regard to function, which Li says could be something the court is persuaded to change before giving final approval. He said redistricting rules in the New York constitution require that the core of each district be preserved as much as possible.
“There might be an argument in New York that neighborhoods have changed too much,” Li said.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from Brooklyn, excoriated the proposed maps, saying they ignored testimony from Brooklyn residents and diluted black voters in two districts there and viciously targeted black representation in the House by lumping together voters. four-member districts into one,” a tactic that would make Jim Crow blush.
“Apparently, Republican agents and conservative activists have found a sympathetic audience as a result of the broken process established by the New York Court of Appeals,” he said.
A message seeking comment from the court and the special master was not immediately returned on Monday.
Former Republican congressman John Faso, an adviser to the petitioners who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement that the draft plan is better than the maps drawn by Democrats, but his team will ask the court to make revisions “which better reflect long-standing experience”. communities of interest around the state.
A New York court will review the maps for two days before a final version is approved by a judge on May 20, with primary elections for the congressional and state Senate races now being held on August 23.
Adding to the redistricting tangle, the state Assembly and gubernatorial primaries are still scheduled for June 28.
The Court of Appeals did not order the drawing of new Assembly maps because a group of GOP voters who continued the redistricting process did not specifically challenge them in their lawsuit. They only tackled maps of the US House and State Senate seats.
But a new lawsuit is trying to condense all the election dates and throw out the state Assembly cards as well, arguing they are unconstitutional.