A New York state judge on Thursday ruled that a new congressional district map drawn by Democratic lawmakers was unconstitutional, The New York Times reports.
Republican Judge Patrick McAllister ruled that the maps violated a state constitutional ban on partisan gerrymandering and accused Democrats of embracing gerrymandering tactics they have spent years criticizing Republicans over.
“The court finds by clear evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt that the congressional map was unconstitutionally drawn with political bias,” he wrote.
McAllister also threw out the state legislative districts drawn by Democrats, ordering the legislature to produce “bipartisanly supported maps” by April 11.
McAllister said if they don’t, he would appoint an independent special master to draw them.
Democrats confident in appeal:
Democrats expressed confidence that McAllister’s ruling would be overturned on appeal.
“This is one step in the process,” said Michael Murphy, a spokesman for the State Senate Democrats. “We always knew this case would be decided by the appellate courts.”
Democrats will challenge the ruling in the state’s appellate courts, which tend to be dominated by Democrats.
“The plaintiffs got what they wanted by going to court in Steuben County,” said Jeffrey Wice, an adjunct professor at New York Law School’s Census and Redistricting Institute. “Whether they carry their victory all the way to the State Court of Appeals is an uphill battle for them.”
A Maryland judge last week also threw out a congressional map drawn by Democratic lawmakers, calling it an “extreme partisan gerrymander.”
Judge Lynne Battaglia wrote that the evidence “yields the conclusion that the 2021 Congressional Plan in Maryland is an ‘outlier,’ an extreme gerrymander that subordinates constitutional criteria to political considerations.”
The state attorney general filed an appeal of that ruling as well.