New York judge strikes down Democratic-drawn maps

New York Democrats drew a new congressional map with boundaries that could gain their party as many as three new seats, a crucial advantage at a time when the House majority will come down to just a handful of wins.

The New York congressional map ruled unconstitutional by the state judge would give Democrats 22 seats to four Republican ones. The New York delegation is composed of 19 Democratic seats to eight seats for Republicans. The state lost a seat because of slow growth over the past 10 years.

Democrats, who had control of the New York state government for full time in a century, argued the first they were using their power to right wrongs in previous maps. But Republicans decried it as a partisan gerrymander who ran afoul of voters’ wishes to take raw politics out of redistricting.

In 2014, the New York voters approved a constitutional amendment to set up a separate entity outside the state legislature to control redistricting. The 10-member commission was split equally along partisan lines. Of the members, eight were appointed by partisan legislative leaders.

The commission was supposed to present a single map to the legislature that state lawmakers could adopt or reject. But beset with its own partisan infighting, the commission did not come up with a unified map, instead submitting two sets of lines, one drawn by the Democrats on the panel and another drawn by the Republicans. The commission’s drama effectively allowed state lawmakers to dismiss its work and create their own map.

“The scourge of gerrymandering is not unique to New York,” McAllister, a Republican, wrote. “In 2014, New York State took major steps to avoid being plagued by gerrymandering. … The 2020 census was the first time after the constitutional amendment that led New York to draw new districts. Therefore, this is a case of first impression in many respects.”

Leave a Comment