New York court rejects congressional maps drawn by Democrats

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court on Wednesday rejected new congressional maps that had widely been seen as favoring Democrats, largely agreeing with Republican voters who argued the district boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

The state’s Court of Appeals said lawmakers lacked the authority to pass the congressional and state Senate maps after an independent redistricting commission failed to reach a consensus.

The judges also said lawmakers gerrymandered the congressional maps to Democrats’ favor, in violation of a 2014 constitutional amendment designed to rout out political gamesmanship in redistricting.

The Appeals Court said it will “likely be necessary” to move the congressional and state Senate primary elections from June to August.

The group of Republican voters had said in their lawsuit not only that the maps were gerrymandered, but also that the Legislature didn’t follow proper procedure in passing them.

A lower-level court had also ruled that the maps were unconstitutional and had given the Legislature an April 30 deadline to come up with new maps or else leave the task to a court-appointed expert.

The judges in Wednesday’s ruling said a special court master will pass new district maps instead of the Legislature.

Judicial “oversight is required to facilitate the expeditious creation of constitutionally conforming maps for use in the 2022 election and to safeguard the constitutionally protected right of New Yorkers to a fair election,” the ruling read.

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