New York’s top court clears way for new congressional map

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A New York court agreed to allow the state to redraw its congressional map on Tuesday, a significant win for Democrats hoping to retake the U.S. House in 2024.  

In a 4-3 opinion issued on Tuesday afternoon, the court ordered the state’s redistricting commission to draw a new map by February 28, 2024. The state’s Democratic-controlled legislature will ultimately get final say over the map, however, and Republicans have warned the legislature is likely to gerrymander the map again.

“We now have to see whether the Democrats and Republicans can come together and agree on a compromise map, or whether the Democrats will be left sending a map of their own to the legislature, and whether the Republicans will continue the fight in court,” said Jeffrey Wice, a redistricting expert and professor at New York Law School.

This will be the third map for New York state this decade. The state’s Independent Redistricting Commission deadlocked last year, leaving the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature to draw and pass their own map. That map that so significantly boosted their political prospects that state courts tossed them in favor of a court-drawn map.

Republicans flipped four seats on those maps in 2022, and a group of New York voters backed by a top Democratic election law firm sued to demand that the state’s redistricting commission be reconvened to redraw maps. Republicans opposed the measure, because the Democratic-controlled legislature can overrule the commission and draw their own maps.

New York Democrats face significant pressure to again attempt to gerrymander their state, as the U.S. House is narrowly divided.

Democrats celebrated the ruling Tuesday.

Susan DelBene, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement the ruling was a “win for democracy.”

“We are eager for the Independent Redistricting Commission to get back to work to create a new, fair congressional map — through the process New York voters intended,” she said.

“I am confident that the independent commission can conduct a transparent process that will lead to a congressional map that more accurately reflects trends of the state’s Census data and the will of the voters,” said John Bisognano, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in a statement.

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