New York judge orders redistricting commission to redraw Assembly maps
ALBANY — The commission responsible for drawing New York’s political boundaries is getting another crack in overhauling state Assembly districts.
A Manhattan judge ruled on Thursday that the bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission must hold public hearings and submit new Assembly maps based on the 2020 census to the Legislature by the end of April next year. .
The move is the latest chapter in a messy redistricting saga that has seen New York hold two separate primaries this year.
“There is no doubt that the redistricting process did not work as intended,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Laurence Love wrote in her ruling.
Court challenges earlier this year invalidated maps drawn by the Democratic-controlled legislature after the 10-member IRC could not agree on new lines for the Senate, Assembly and districts of the State Congress.
The primaries for the state House and Senate seats were pushed back to August after a court-appointed special master was tasked with creating new districts.
The Democratic-drawn Assembly Districts were ruled unconstitutional by a five-judge appeals court panel in June, though they still allowed the discarded maps to be used for the June primary and the current electoral cycle.
Courts at all levels have found that Democrats manipulated congressional cards to favor themselves and violated a 2014 constitutional provision creating the independent commission to remove politics from the redistricting process.
Now, Love notes in her ruling, “circumstances have afforded everyone a rare opportunity for a second bite of the apple.”
“There is ample time to follow, as closely as possible, the procedure mandated by the Constitution and approved by the people of New York State,” he added.
The decision could still be appealed, further complicating the complicated process.
Gary Greenberg, co-owner of Vernon Downs Casino and longtime advocate for laws supporting victims of child sexual abuse who is part of the lawsuit that triggered the decision, called Love’s decision “disgusting and shameful”. .
“A political agreement was reached in the Assembly between the two political parties to protect the incumbents,” Greenberg said. “This is another dark day in Albany’s corrupt judicial and legislative system.”