On Thursday, a court in New York ruled that the Democrats’ latest efforts to redraw the state’s House district maps illegally favored the Democrat Party.
New York has long banned gerrymandering on partisan grounds in its Constitution, with Republicans arguing that districts that have been redrawn by the Democrat-majority legislature reflect a clear violation of that ban.
In the most recent development, a five-judge appellate court panel indicated agreement with the Republicans, with the case expected to proceed onward to the state Court of Appeals, as reported by the New York Times.
According to Michael Li, a representative for Brennan Center for Justice, “New York courts aren’t finding the question of whether a map is a partisan gerrymander a particularly hard one to decide,” which is not dissimilar from many other state courts scattered throughout the United States.
“It’s very hard to defend a map like New York’s,” Li continued, “and ultimately if it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.”
The current state of the district lines is highly critical to the midterm elections in November, as Democrats hope that large victories across the deep blue state will help stymie the widely anticipated thrashing in the fall.
The appellate court ultimately found that the Democrats redrew the district lines in an effort to “favor Democrats” and “discourage competition.”
In addition, the Democrats also willingly ignored the ban pertaining to politicized gerrymandering.
As a result of the ruling, the Democrat-led legislature is expected to redraw district maps by April 30. In the event that the maps are not redrawn, then the courts will appoint a neutral expert to oversee redrawing the district maps.
However, the ruling did not provide any insight into whether or not primaries in June should be delayed until the summer’s end, or the end of August, as reported by the Times.