New York s top court invalidated the state's congressional map on Wednesday, ruling that Democrats' redistricting process and resulting maps violated the state constitution.
The 4 -- 3 decision is a blow to Democrats who won three additional seats in the U.S. House based on the political boundary lines and is likely to help Republicans secure a modest lead in national redistricting. The Democratic state Senate map was hacked by the decision.
The Court of Appeals on Tuesday heard oral arguments in the suit, in which Republican voters claimed that Democrats violated the state's new Constitutionally-mandated process for redistricting and gerrymandered the maps for their political benefit.
The Democratic-controlled legislature drew and enacted their own maps earlier this year when the commission failed to produce a final set of maps.
In court on Wednesday, Democrats defended this as a lawful solution to the commission's failure and argued that the Congressional map Republicans claimed was a partisan gerrymander designed to protect minority voting rights.
The court disagreed. In a majority opinion signed by Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals Janet DiFiore, the court said that the legislature had clearly defied anti-gerrymandering reforms by doing exactly what they would have done had the 2014 constitutional reforms not been passed. The case was sent to a lower court where an outside expert will be hired to draw the state maps.
Nearly a century and a half ago, we wrote that the Constitution is the voice of the people speaking in their sovereign capacity and it must be heeded by the court. Today, we uphold those constitutional standards by adhering to the will of the people of the State and giving meaningful effect to the 2014 constitutional amendments. In a statement, New York State Senate Majority Communications Director Mike Murphy said, We are reviewing the decision.