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Tipsheet

New York Appeals Court Finds Absurd Gerrymandered Congressional Maps Are in Violation of State Constitution

AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool

Of all the gerrymandered maps for 2022, the New York State map was by far the most absurd, as I highlighted in February. There was no way it was considered constitutional, especially when it likely violates a 2014 state law enshrined in New York's constitution, and a lawsuit was quickly filed. The courts have found that the maps, at least the congressional maps, violated the state constitution. 

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As one can see, something had to be done. The Wall Street Journal in an editorial from February 1 called out Rep. Jerry Nadler's (D-NY) district in particular by referring to the map as "New York’s Democratic Jerrymander," pointing out that one's "first instinct might be to grab the cartographer and do a field sobriety test." There's also another name for such gerrymandering with these New York maps that Republicans have come up with, in this case, a "Hochulmander," after Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

Though Republicans lost their appeal, when it comes to the legislative maps, the state's highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals, will hear the case next Tuesday. 

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The progressive Democracy Docket chimed in with a tweet about the court's findings, noting that the state lawmakers have until April 30 to redraw the maps. 

Not satisfied enough with the legislative maps being found constitutional, Democrats are appealing. As The New York Post reported on Thursday night: 

But Democrats, who have supermajorities in the state Senate and Assembly, are planning to challenge the decision to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

“We are pleased the Court upheld the legislature’s process and the right for the legislature to enact these maps,” Mike Murphy, a spokesman for state Senate Democrats said in a statement following the ruling. “The newly-drawn Senate and Assembly maps are now valid. We always knew this case would end at the Court of Appeals and look forward to being heard on our appeal to uphold the Congressional map as well.”

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Even the Brennan Center for Justice is opposed to the maps. As The New York Times reported: 

The ruling was the second consecutive setback for New York's Democratic mapmakers, and this time it came in an appellate court that was viewed as generally friendly to the party.

“Like other state courts around the country, New York courts aren’t finding the question of whether a map is a partisan gerrymander a particularly hard one to decide,” said Michael Li, senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “It’s very hard to defend a map like New York’s, and ultimately if it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, the current chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, continues to remain silent on the absurdity of New York's maps. He has, however, in recent days, tweeted about court findings when it comes to how other state maps have been affected. For such hypocrisy, Holder has been a target of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). 

"This ruling is just another reminder of how the map drawn by New York Democrats is nothing more than a partisan power grab to ensure Nancy Pelosi retains her speakership," said RSLC National Press Secretary Stephanie Rivera in a statement to Townhall. "The reason Democrats are hypocritically gerrymandering in liberal-led states across the country and through their allies on state Supreme Courts is because they know voters aren’t buying their socialist agenda and they are terrified of losing in November." 

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