From today’s CBS News Online:
New York’s highest state court ruled Wednesday that the legislature violated the state’s 2014 redistricting reform by taking over the redrawing of its congressional lines and creating a map that heavily favors Democrats.
The 4-3 decision was made after a string of lower court decisions that ordered the redrawing of congressional boundaries. The court also ruled that the proposed state senate lines were unconstitutional.
During Tuesday’s oral arguments, judges were skeptical that the Democratic-majority legislature had taken the right steps to take over the redistricting process from the independent redistricting commission (NYIRC), which was unable to produce a consensus congressional map.
“A stalemate within the IRC resulted in a breakdown in the mandatory process for submission of electoral maps to the legislature. The legislature responded by creating and enacting maps in a nontransparent manner controlled exclusively by the dominant political party — doing exactly what they would have done had the 2014 constitutional reforms never been passed,” wrote Chief Judge Janet DiFiore.
The originally enacted congressional map was likely to create 22 Democratic-leaning districts and 4 Republican-leaning seats. The current congressional delegation is made up of 19 Democrats and eight Republicans.
The court order to redraw the map is a loss for House Democrats, who were otherwise were looking at the possibility of a small net gain in seats through aggressive redrawing of the lines in their favor in New York, Illinois and Oregon. Meanwhile, Republicans will see modest gains through recent gerrymandering in Florida that could give them four more seats and potentially in Missouri, where legislators are still redrawing lines.
Read the complete story here.