Court of Appeals rules on redrawing maps need to be redrawn

ALBANY — A mid-tier appeals court ruled Thursday that the Democratic-drawn redistricting maps were drawn with partisan intent and should be redone, according to a ruling by the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division. State in Rochester.

The decision sets up a major legal battle for the case in the Court of Appeal, which is expected next week. The decision could significantly influence the number of Democrats and Republicans representing New York in Congress, which could also significantly affect the balance of the deadlock in Washington.

The decision does not affect the new political state boundaries established for the Senate and Assembly. The court battle is unfolding as ballots for the June 28 primary are due next month.

In a split, 3-2 decision, the court said the redistricting maps, an effort undertaken every decade after the U.S. census count, were “drawn to discourage competition and favor Democrats.” The legislature has until April 30 to draw a new map of Congress, according to the court ruling.

Majority of justices found computer simulations from an expert presented by Republican voters showed clear gerrymandering, though they acknowledged in the ruling that ‘circumstantial evidence’ was not sufficient to prove partisan intent .

The computer simulations do not take into account “communities of interest”, which are legally required and were the main input that the Independent State Redistricting Commission received during its public hearings.

Two judges, Gerald J. Whalen and Joanne M. Winslow, issued a partial dissenting decision declaring that the Congressional maps were not gerrymandered. They agreed with three other justices that the legislature has the right to draw the maps after the committee deadlock.

Only one judge, John M. Curran, agreed with the Steuben County lower court’s ruling that the legislature had no power to draw the maps after the commission failed to do so. Curran, on the bench during oral argument on Wednesday, called the commission “useless.”

John Faso, a former GOP congressman who spoke on behalf of petitioners challenging the redistricting process, welcomed the decision.

“We are pleased that the Appeals Division has confirmed what all New Yorkers know: the congressional map passed by Democrats in the Legislature is a blatant and unconstitutional gerrymander,” Faso said.

Democrats said they looked forward to the case going to the Court of Appeals.

“We are pleased that the court has upheld the Legislature’s process and the Legislature’s right to pass these maps,” said Mike Murphy, spokesman for the Democratic-held Senate Majority. “The newly drawn Senate and Assembly maps are now valid. We always knew this case would end up in the Court of Appeals and we look forward to a hearing on our appeal to enforce the Congressional map. also.”

Comments are closed.