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April 13, 2023
A group of Republican voters filed a lawsuit on Thursday that challenged New York’s newly drawn congressional maps as unconstitutional.
Democratic lawmakers in Albany approved the district lines that would favor their party’s control of the House, according to the New York Times.
The lawsuit argues that the district lines violate the 2014 state constitutional amendment that protects against partisan district drawing. They say Democrats “brazenly enacted a congressional map that is undeniably politically gerrymandered in their party’s favor.”
The lawsuit says, “This court should reject it as a matter of substance, as the map is an obviously unconstitutional partisan and incumbent-protection gerrymander.”
The lawsuit will likely face an uphill battle, as state courts have been reluctant to reject maps drawn by lawmakers. It is difficult to prove that maps were drawn illegally to favor one party over the other.
Jeffrey Wice, a senior fellow at New York Law School’s Census and Redistricting Institute, said “The question is whether the court will reject 50 years of precedent and reject the plan.”
A judge could uphold or reject the maps, or even ask Democrats to redraw them. They could also appoint a special master to redraw them in a nonpartisan way if the Legislature proved they were incapable of doing so.
However, Democrats have rejected the charge of gerrymandering. They argue that the newly drawn lines are fair, and represent a state that is overwhelmingly Democrat. Additionally, they say it represents population changes in rural areas as they continue to be depopulated.
ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THECITY.NYC