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An appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked enforcement of a ruling that found Democratic state lawmakers illegally gerrymandered new congressional districts — but warned that waiting for the case to be decided could backfire on them.
“The Legislature may begin redrawing the map right now if it chooses to do so,” Rochester Appellate Division Justice Stephen Lindley wrote.
“Or the Legislature may choose to do nothing and risk the possibility of having to live with the map drawn by Judge [Patrick] McAllister’s neutral expert should respondents lose before the Court of Appeals and lack sufficient time to propose a substitute map that withstands constitutional scrutiny after exhaustion of appellate remedies.”
Last month, McAllister gave the state’s top Democrats a Monday deadline to come up with new, bipartisan maps to replace ones he said were illegally gerrymandered to hurt Republicans, or else risk having a court-appointed expert do it and not finish in time for congressional primary elections — even if they’re pushed back to Aug. 23.
Lindley’s three-page ruling granted a request by defendants including Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Leader Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) to stay the order until April 20, when a panel of Appellate Division judges in Rochester is set to hear oral arguments.
Ahead of Friday’s decision, Lindley issued a temporary stay on Monday that allowed campaigning and petitioning ahead of the June 28 primary contest to continue on schedule.
Candidate petitions for Congress and the state Legislature were due Thursday.
But if McAllister’s decision is upheld by the higher court, it could push back the state’s June 28 primary date.
The new New York maps — proposed in January — give Democrats a majority of registered voters in 22 of the 26 congressional districts the state will have in 2023. Republicans, who now hold eight of New York’s 27 seats in Congress, would only have a party registration advantage in just four districts.
New York lost one of its 27 House seats due to the population losses documented by the 2020 Census.
The new US House map eliminates the current upstate district held by GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney of Binghamton to account for population loss, creating a new 22nd District effectively split between the seats held by retiring GOP Rep. John Katko of Auburn and Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado of Kingston.
Additionally, Democrats redrew the seat held by Republican incumbent Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R- Staten Island), adding more liberal neighborhoods in Brooklyn such as Park Slope and Sunset Park, to counter the more conservative Staten Island in the 11th Congressional district, The move gives former Democratic U.S.. Rep. Max Rose, who held the House seat for two years, an advantage in his campaign to oust Malliotakis.
Under the new boundaries, longtime Rep. Jerry Nadler’s 10th Congressional District absorbed conservative-leaning neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn — including Dyker Heights and Bath Beach — that were formerly part of Mallitoakis’ district.
With Post wires