A New York state appeals court has temporarily blocked the highly partisan redistricting map approved by the Democrat-controlled legislature because of abusive gerrymandering.
The court found in its ruling that Democrats in control of the legislature drafted the new districting map “without any Republican input” and was approved without a single GOP vote in favor.
The previous districting map was approved in 2012 and set up 19 Democratic and 8 Republican districts. The 2022 map will finally end up with one less district as a result of New York’s significant population loss shown in the 2020 U.S. Census.
The map proposed this year by the Democrats would cost Republicans five seats in Congress. Of 27 total districts, the Democrat map would allow Republicans only 3 seats.
State Senate Democratic spokesperson Mike Murphy issued a statement saying the party is “pleased” that the court ruling upholds the right of the legislature to create the map. A lower level state court had previously ruled that a 2014 amendment to the state constitution required a process different from the one followed by the legislature.
Murphy went on to say that the party looks forward to being heard by the state’s highest appeals court with regard to the actual district lines they proposed.
The Democrats in the legislature in fact failed to follow a state law they passed previously that is designed to remove politics from redistricting through the creation of an Independent Redistricting Commission. As things happened with this year’s proposed map, the commission never sent any recommendations regarding new districts at all.
Because of the loss of Democratic districts around the country because of population shifts away from blue states, the New York legislature decided to simply ignore the commission it created in order to gerrymander the districts in the most partisan manner they could.
The case is now likely to advance to the state’s Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York. Every judge currently on that court was appointed by Democrats.
The New York Republican party has been plagued in recent years by bitter infighting. Unless the party can find a way to unify and attract voters who haven’t yet fled the state, the Empire State may become even more overwhelmingly blue in Congress.