NY redistricting lawsuit reaches highest court in the state
(WBNG) -- Lawyers for both the government and the people they’re supposed to represent argued Tuesday about whether the state’s redistricting maps really do justice for New Yorkers.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of voters in Steuben County has reached the highest court in the state, with a panel of seven judges expected to rule on the merits of two issues before the end of April.
The two previous courts ruled in favor of the petitioners, who argue not only did New York’s Independent Redistricting Committee violate state law by not submitting a second set of maps different than the first they sent to the legislature, but potentially more important, state lawmakers purposefully gerrymandered its own set of maps to benefit Democrats statewide.
It is now up to the court to determine if either of those two points is accurate, and if so, what the correct remedy should be, given this is the first redistricting cycle since the 2014 bill which created the commission.
Lawyers for the legislature argued the petitioners’ reasoning is faulty.
“They make an inference that in fact there was no Republican input at all, which is not true based upon what’s in the record from the commission, and then they go to the simulations of Mr. Trendi, and those simulations are extremely flawed in terms of their problems with redundancy, the problems with a lack of an appropriate sample size,” said Craig Bucki, who represents State Assembly Majority Leader Carl Heastie (D).
The group suing the government argued an independent map maker should now take over the process, a position the two lower courts ruled in favor of.
Whatever the Court of Appeals rules, it will have to make a decision soon, as New York’s June primary means time to petition for new districts is rapidly dwindling.