The New York State Court of Appeals will hear arguments on Tuesday about whether Democrats pushed through redrawn state legislative and U.S. House of Representatives districts that gave them unfair advantages for the upcoming November election.
The announcement, posted on the court’s website, came less than a day after a lower appeals panel ruled the New York State Legislature has until the end of the month to redraw the congressional map. That upheld a March 31 state court ruling in Steuben County that found the new state Assembly, state Senate and congressional maps violated the state constitution.
However, the Fourth Department of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division said Thursday that it found the process lawmakers used after an independent committee failed to agree on maps based on the 2020 U.S. Census to be proper.
Because of that, the appeals court overturned a portion of Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Patrick F. McAllister’s ruling by tossing out the maps for the state Assembly and Senate seats.
A spokesman for the Republican voters who filed the lawsuit told The New York Times they would appeal the decision to reinstate the state legislative maps.
The New York congressional map is significant for several reasons. First, the state lost a seat in the U.S. House, effective with the upcoming election. Census data revealed if New York had 100 more people in the state, it would have retained all 27 seats it currently has in the 435-seat House.
Second, a contentious midterm election is expected this fall. Democrats hold a slim majority in the U.S. House now, and a map tilted their way in left-leaning New York could help the party stay in power for the next term.
Under the current map, Democrats hold 19 of New York’s congressional seats. The 26-seat map the Democratic state legislature passed established 22 Democratic-majority districts and just four for Republicans.
Hochul, Democratic legislative leaders and state officials were sued after Hochul signed the maps into law. They argued that the maps did not give their party an unfair advantage.
A majority of the five-judge appellate panel disagreed and found evidence from an analyst presented by plaintiffs to be convincing. Sean Trende testified after reviewing the congressional map and running simulations to create maps. Trende found that the newly enacted map compacted GOP voters while spreading out Democratic voters.
The state’s top court is expected to act quickly. The New York primary election is June 28.