This week, the highest state court in New York, the New York Court of Appeals, sided with Republicans and ruled that the Democrats gerrymandered the recently introduced congressional map enacted by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote:
The court found that the legislature’s actions in adopting the congressional and senate maps were unconstitutional and senate maps by the legislature were procedurally unlawful, as well as substantively improper with illegal partisan intent, resulting in a state without constitutional district lines for use in 2022 primary and general elections.
The redrawing of New York’s congressional districts this year is the first since voters changed the state constitution in 2014 to establish a bipartisan redistricting commission. However, despite having equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans, the redistricting commission failed to reach an agreement on a new congressional map.
As a result, the Democratic-controlled state legislature’s proposed maps were authorized by Gov. Hochul. The chair of the New York Republican Party praised the New York Court of Appeals for its decision in opposition to the “Hochulmander.”
“The Hochulmander has been destroyed … even the partisan-appointed Democratic judges couldn’t stomach how repulsive this gerrymander was,” Langworthy added.
Democratic officials denounced Hochul for implementing an unlawful political map.
In the Democratic primary for New York governor, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) slammed Hochul’s “dysfunctional government.”
“Kathleen Hochul is proving to be another failure for New York’s failing government. She isn’t the leader New Yorkers require or deserve,” Suozzi added in a tweet.
On the other side of the spectrum, some New York Democrats downplayed the decision. “I am still confident in Democratic victories up and down the ballot this November,” says New York Democrat Party chair Jay Jacobs.
“While certain district lines may shift, our Party’s track record of results is evident, as it contrasts clearly with the Republican Party’s extremist agenda to drag this state backward. ”Jacobs said
In a 4-3 ruling, New York’s highest court said that it would be “very likely” for the state’s June 28 primaries to be delayed to August, reducing the amount of time candidates have to campaign ahead of November’s general election.
With House Republicans just five seats away from regaining the majority, Democrats are scrambling to draw election maps in their favor. Republicans currently control eight of New York’s 27 congressional districts. However, following the 2020 Census, New York lost one congressional seat as a result of a large number of people leaving the Democrat-controlled state.
The Democrats’ plan would have given them control of 22 seats out of the state’s 26.
Michael Li, a redistricting expert at New York University School of Law, called the Democrats’ plan “a perfect example of gerrymandering.”