NY Supreme Court judge rules Dems gerrymandered districts, orders re-drawing of maps with GOP help

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On the same day that a left-wing judge struck down Florida’s recently-passed GOP-written election security law, claiming it was racist, a right-wing judge tossed out New York Democrats’ recently redrawn congressional maps, claiming they were biased.

Acting New York State Supreme Court Judge Patrick F. McAllister, who usually serves as an elected Steuben County judge, made the case in an 18-page ruling that the maps “were unconstitutionally and politically drawn by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature,” according to Gothamist.

The judge ordered Democrats to redraw new “bipartisanly supported maps,” but this time with the assistance of their Republican colleagues.

However, McAllister gave Democrats til only April 11th to draw the maps and warned of grave consequences if they fail to meet his deadline.

“If they fail, Justice McAllister said he would appoint an independent special master to draw them, raising the possibility that candidates already campaigning could be left in limbo for weeks, and that primaries scheduled for June could be delayed,” The New York Times notes.

The state-sanctioned Independent Redistricting Commission typically draws congressional maps, but this year they failed in their efforts due to an inability “to agree upon a set of bipartisan maps.”

The commission’s inability to perform their assigned duties caused their duties to be transferred to the Democrat-controlled New York State Legislature, where Democrats rushed to draw maps that were apparently very biased.

“Justice McAllister, a Republican in rural Steuben County, accused Democrats of embracing tactics they have denounced Republicans for using in order to create a map that gave them an advantage in 22 of 26 New York seats. He called such gerrymandering a ‘scourge’ on democracy,” according to the Times.

The ruling triggered immediate clap-backs from two of the state’s most powerful Democrats, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James.

“We intend to appeal this decision,” the two said in a one-sentence joint statement.

New York State Senate Democrats also intend to file an appeal “and anticipate receiving a stay, which would temporarily block [the ruling] from taking effect,” according to Gothamist.

Republicans meanwhile celebrated McAllister’s decision.

“The people won, and the politicians lost,” former Rep. John Faso, who’s reportedly the spokesperson for the GOP effort to overturn Democrats’ maps, said to Politico.

However, much like with Judge Mark E. Walker’s ruling in Florida, “experts” expect McAllister’s ruling to also be overruled.

“It wasn’t surprising,” Jeff Wice, a senior fellow at New York Law School’s Census and Redistricting Institute, told Politico, describing his reaction to Republicans winning a victory from a Republican judge.

“There was a reason that the plaintiffs went to Steuben County State Supreme Court, and to that extent, they got what they wanted. Whether they succeed at the next level is unclear and less likely.”

Senate Democrats appear to suspect the same.

“This is one step in the process. We always knew this case would be decided by appellate courts. We are appealing this decision and expect this decision will be stayed,” Senate Democrat spokesperson Mike Murphy said.

View McAllister’s ruling below:

Over in Florida meanwhile, Walker penned a 288-page order Thursday striking down a Florida election security/integrity bill on the basis that it somehow makes “voting tougher for black voters.”

Republicans say the move was partisan because, besides just striking down the law, Judge Mark E. Walker also wrote a 288-page order rife with political rhetoric.

The order not only accused Florida Republicans of “attack[ing] the voting rights of” black Floridians but also included quotes from deceased civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and attacks on the bill’s GOP sponsors.

Walker’s order even included an attack on the Supreme Court, which he accused of putting the right to vote “under siege” by allegedly “gutting” the Voting Rights Act.

In response to the ruling Florida Speaker House Speaker Chris Sprowls released a blistering statement far longer than the one penned by Hochul and James.

“The illogical leaps and unsupported inferences in Judge Walker’s opinion amounts to a 288-page accusation of discriminatory intent based on limited analysis of data he thinks the Legislature might have had, the uncritical and complete acceptance of the comments of Democratic lawmakers, and a total disregard for other viewpoints.  His alleged pattern of discrimination over time amounts to a conspiracy theory that overlooks the reality of term limits,” he said.

“And his insertion of Federal preclearance over Florida’s election laws is an egregious abuse of his power. Judge Walker’s premise — that the Legislature and Governor may only amend election laws if they are requested by Supervisors of Election or supported by the Democratic Party — demonstrates that this opinion was a predetermined outcome in search of an overlong and poorly reasoned rationale.”

Vivek Saxena


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