Appeals court orders new congressional lines in New York, a potential boon for Democrats

Jul 13, 2023, 9:14 AM | Updated: 11:26 am

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A mid-level state appeals court on Thursday ordered new congressional lines be drawn for New York, a ruling that could benefit Democrats in the 2024 fight for control of the U.S. House.

The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court reversed a lower court and directed a state redistricting commission to start work on new proposed state congressional lines. Democrats are supporting the lawsuit, which seeks to scrap the 2022 lines in New York under which Republicans flipped four congressional seats.

The ruling was welcomed by Democrats as the party tries to retake the House majority they lost in last year’s elections. Republicans quickly pledged to appeal the politically charged case to New York’s highest court.

“On to the Court of Appeals,” former Republican Rep. John Faso said in a statement. “Democrats want to rig the congressional district lines in their favor. New York State now has more competitive congressional districts than any state in the nation.”

The appeals ruling was good news for national Democrats as they try to retake the House majority they lost last year.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 10 New York voters who want the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission to submit new proposed state congressional lines for 2024. The commission’s first set of lines were rejected and a lawsuit led to the 2022 lines being drawn by a court-appointed expert.

In the current lawsuit, attorneys representing Republicans argued that mid-decade redistricting is improper and the 2022 lines should remain in place.

But Justice Elizabeth Garry wrote in a majority opinion that the commission “had an indisputable duty under the NY Constitution to submit a second set of maps upon the rejection of its first set.”

“New Yorkers deserve the fair lines and fair process they voted for, and today’s decision is a huge step in the right direction,” said attorney Aria Branch, who represented the people who brought the lawsuit.

The appeals court ordered the commission to “commence its duties forthwith.”

“We’re looking forward to getting back to work,” said Karen Blatt, the commission’s Democratic co-executive director. “And we’re looking forward to working with our Republican side as well.”

The Independent Redistricting Commission, a body made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, failed to reach a consensus on a set of maps for 2022. The Democrat-controlled Legislature stepped in and created its own maps.

Those maps would have given Democrats a strong majority of registered voters in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts, leading to charges of gerrymandering from Republicans.

After a court challenge, New York’s highest court ruled the Legislature lacked the authority to redraw the lines. The Court of Appeals handed authority to draw new district maps to an expert, who drew up the more competitive congressional districts.

Republicans were able to gain seats in New York under those maps, including one held by Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who ran the House Democrats’ campaign arm.

In April, Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Attorney General Letitia James jointly filed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of current legal action.

With a promised appeal to the Court of Appeals, New York Law School professor Jeffrey Wice noted it is generally easier for the high court to affirm a lower court decision than explain why they are reversing it.

“There’s no guarantee here,” Wice said, “but the chances of success for the Democrats just got a lot better.”

National News

Associated Press

Iowa promises services to kids with severe mental and behavioral needs after lawsuit cites failures

Iowa’s health agency will take steps to develop home and community-based services for children with severe mental and behavioral needs as part of an initial agreement with civil rights groups that filed a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in January on behalf of three children. It alleges that Iowa has for decades failed […]

30 minutes ago

Associated Press

Northern California seashore searched for missing swimmer after unconfirmed report of a shark attack

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities searched a remote section of California’s Point Reyes National Seashore on Monday for a swimmer missing since a possible shark attack during the weekend. The swimmer was reported missing late Sunday morning near Point Reyes, northwest of San Francisco Bay, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Hunter […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

95-year-old painter threatened with eviction from Cape Cod dune shack wins five-year reprieve

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP) — A 95-year-old painter and his family threatened with eviction from the Provincetown, Massachusetts, dune shack they have helped care for and occupy for nearly eight decades have won a reprieve. A legal team representing the painter worked out an agreement with federal officials that allows Salvatore Del Deo and his family […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

2 Indianapolis officers plead not guilty after indictment for shooting Black man asleep in car

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers indicted for shooting a Black man who was sleeping in a car outside his grandmother’s house entered not guilty pleas Monday. Officers Carl Chandler and Alexander Gregory entered the pleas to charges of battery and criminal recklessness charges. Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced Friday that […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

House Republican duo calls for fraud probe into federal anti-poverty program

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The federal government should investigate potential fraud in one of its largest anti-poverty programs, two Republican members of Congress say. In a Sept. 20 letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodoro that was made public Monday by Mississippi’s state auditor, U.S. Reps. Jason Smith, of Missouri, and Darin LaHood, of Illinois, said […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge denies request by three former Memphis officers to have separate trials in Tyre Nichols death

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A judge on Monday denied requests by three former Memphis officers to have separate trials in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop. Lawyers for Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills and Justin Smith had filed motions to sever their cases from Demetrius Haley and Emmitt Martin, arguing that they […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Appeals court orders new congressional lines in New York, a potential boon for Democrats