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New York Highest Court Sends Redistricting Commission Back To The Drawing Board

New York's Independent Redistricting Commission Logo.

ALBANY- In a four-to-three decision, the state’s highest court sided with Democrats and ruled that the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) would return to the drawing board for New York’s 26 Congressional districts ahead of the 2024 election.  The decision not only has serious implications in New York but could ultimately be a deciding factor in which party controls the House of Representatives in January of 2025.

Led by Chief Justice Rowan Wilson, the Court of Appeals which is now controlled by a new liberal majority, ruled that the maps devised last year by a Special Master would only stand for the 2022 election cycle.  The ruling sends the map-making process back to the IRC, which will have two attempts to create a map that is approved by the Democratic-led state legislature.  Since Democrats hold a supermajority in both the State Senate and State Assembly, no Republican votes would be required to approve the maps.

Political pundits believe that with just minor modifications to the current Congressional map, Democrats could flip five or six seats from red to blue.

Redrawing district lines on local districts 17, 18 and 19 could have impacts both on the regional and national levels.

“This decision by the Court of Appeals is corrupt Albany politics at its worst,” said Republican Congressman Mike Lawler (NY-17).  “Kathy Hochul, Hakeem Jeffries, and Albany and Washington Democrats stacked the court with a handpicked judge to deliver the decision they needed to rig New York’s Congressional maps.  Let me be clear – stacking the court to influence its decision is a direct threat to democratic norms in New York.  To speak plainly, Kathy Hochul and Hakeem Jeffries should be ashamed of themselves for putting politics above all other considerations.”

Republican Congressman Marc Molinaro (NY-19) doesn’t believe the process is fair. “There’s nothing fair about this,” said Molinaro.  “Dragging redistricting on for years will create more confusion and frustration for voters.”

In a joint statement, Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letita James, both Democrats, lauded the decision. “Today’s redistricting decision will ensure all New Yorkers are fairly and equitably represented by elected officials,” read the statement.  “As the Court of Appeals reaffirmed today, district lines should be drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission.  We will continue our efforts to protect voting rights for all New Yorkers.”

The high court ordered the IRC to convene to begin its work no later than February 28th ahead of the beginning of the 2024 election cycle.

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