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The state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, sided with Republicans on Wednesday and held that the Democrats unconstitutionally gerrymandered the recently proposed congressional map signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote:
Based on the foregoing, 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, leaving the state without constitutional district lines for use in the 2022 primary and general elections.
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
This year’s redistricting is the first since New York voters amended the state constitution in 2014 to include a bipartisan redistricting commission. However, the redistricting commission, made up of equal parts Democrats and Republicans, failed to agree on a new congressional map.
As a result, Gov. Hochul approved maps proposed by the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature. The New York Republican Party chair praised the New York Court of Appeals for defeating the “Hochulmander.”
“The Hochulmander has officially been defeated … even the partisan-appointed Democrat judges couldn’t swallow how filthy this gerrymander was,” Langworthy said.
Even Democrat politicians criticized Hochul for approving an unconstitutional redistricting map.
Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), who is running against Hochul in New York’s Democrat primary for governor, called out Hochul’s “dysfunctional government.”
“Another failure for New York’s dysfunctional government and Kathy Hochul. She’s not the leader that New Yorkers need or deserve,” Suozzi tweeted.
On the other hand, some New York Democrats downplayed the court’s decision. New York Democrat Party chair Jay Jacobs remains “confident in Democratic victories up and down the ballot this November.”
“While certain district lines may change, what does not change is our Party’s record of results which contrasts clearly with the Republican Party’s radical agenda to drag this state backward,” Jacobs said.
In a 4-3 decision, New York’s highest court said it would “likely be necessary” for the state’s June 28 primaries to be moved to August, cutting down the time candidates have to campaign ahead of November’s general election.
The court said:
We are confident that, in consultation with the Board of Elections, Supreme Court can swiftly develop a schedule to facilitate an August primary election, allowing time for the adoption of new constitutional maps, the dissemination of correct information to voters, the completion of the petitioning process, and compliance with federal voting laws, including the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (see 52 USC § 20302).
With House Republicans only five seats away from regaining the majority, Democrats are desperately trying to gerrymander maps to their advantage. Currently, Republicans control eight out of New York’s 27 congressional districts. However, New York lost one congressional seat following the 2020 Census due to a mass exodus from the Democrat-run state.
The Democrats’ proposed map would have given them control over 22 seats out of the state’s 26.
New York University School of Law’s redistricting expert Michael Li called the Democrats’ map a “masterclass in gerrymandering.”