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Political Litigation

Attorneys Sue New York Gov. Hochul, Democrats Over “Gerrymandered” Maps

— February 3, 2022

The lawsuit suggests that New York’s legislature ignored established political procedures to “gerrymander” district maps to Democrats’ advantage.

Fourteen plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and other Democratic lawmakers on Thursday, alleging that the state’s latest congressional districts map is unconstitutional.

According to The New York Post, the lawsuit suggests that the new districts violate a 2014 state law dictating how district lines should be drawn.

Furthermore, the complaint claims that the new map heavily favors Democratic candidates.

“The Democratic Party politicians who control the New York Legislature and Governor’s office brazenly enacted a congressional map that is undeniably politically gerrymandered in their party’s favor,” the lawsuit says.

“The People of New York in 2014 enshrined in the New York Constitution an exclusive process for enacting replacement congressional districts, while also prohibiting partisan and incumbent-protection gerrymandering,” attorneys Bennet J. Moskowitz, George H. Winner, and Misha Tseytlin wrote.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Gov. Hochul, adds the Post, signed the redistricting bills into effect on Thursday, just hours after they were approved by the state’s Democrat-dominated legislature.

However, the lawsuit suggests that the state congress itself erred, insofar as it did not follow proper legislative procedure.

“The Legislature had no authority to enact the new map because the Legislature did not follow the exclusive process for enacting replacement maps that the People enshrined through the 2014 amendments, meaning that the congressional map is entirely void,” the lawsuit states.

“This Court should expeditiously adopt a new map—prior to the impending deadlines for candidates to access the ballot—to cure the malapportionment now affecting the post-2010-census congressional map,” it says.

“If this Court holds that the Legislature somehow had the authority to adopt a replacement map notwithstanding these procedural failures, this Court should reject it as a matter of substance, as the map is an obviously unconstitutional partisan and incumbent-protection gerrymander. If this Court takes this approach, it should invalidate the map and then send it back to the Legislature to create a new congressional map, which complies with the law,” the attorneys wrote.

An unnamed source also told The New York Post that, if the attorneys’ current lawsuit fails, they may file a separate, federal-level lawsuit targeting individual districts they believe have been gerrymandered.

“The maps just signed into law are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders that attempt to rig New York elections for the next decade in defiance of the will of the voters and with blatant disregard for New York’s Constitution. These new maps must be struck down,” the attorneys said in a statement.


Hochul signs N.Y.’s congressional, legislative maps into law; GOP files lawsuit

Lawsuit filed against Gov. Hochul, Democratic lawmakers over new congressional maps

Lawsuit out of Steuben County challenges New York redistricting map

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