By Michael Ginsberg
The New York Court of Appeals rejected on Wednesday congressional and state Senate maps passed by the state legislature, ruling that the redistricting scheme illegally favored Democrats.
The Court of Appeals upheld two lower court rulings finding that the map violated the state Constitution’s prohibition on partisan gerrymandering. New York voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2014 prohibiting the legislature from drawing maps to “discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.” Attorneys for the state legislature had argued that the courts could not prove that legislators acted with an intentional partisan purpose.
“The enactment of the congressional and senate maps by the legislature was procedurally unconstitutional, and the congressional map is also substantively unconstitutional as drawn with impermissible partisan purpose,” Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote for the majority.
“There is record support in the undisputed facts and evidence presented by petitioners for the affirmed finding that the 2022 congressional map was drawn to discourage competition.”
BREAKING: The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has voided congressional and State Senate maps drawn by Democrats that would have benefited their candidates.
Decision here: https://t.co/KTnXHv2nBW
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) April 27, 2022
The rejected map would have created 20 safe Democrat districts, four safe Republican districts, and two toss-up districts, according to FiveThirtyEight. New York’s current House delegation is split 19-8 in favor of Democrats. The state lost one congressional seat following reapportionment. (RELATED: Republican New York Rep. Claudia Tenney Moves Districts After State Legislature Releases New Maps)
Many conservatives in New York had pointed to the redrawn 11th District as an example of particularly egregious gerrymandering. Currently represented by Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the state legislature added liberal Park Slope, Brooklyn to the 11th, while adding several more conservative neighborhoods to the neighboring 10th District, represented by Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler. Malliotakis will likely face off against Democrat Max Rose in a rematch of the 2020 general election.
DiFiore added in her ruling that “it will likely be necessary to move the congressional and [state] senate primary elections to August” to give the state time to draw new maps. New York’s primary elections are currently scheduled for June 28.