Upholding Precedent: The Court of Appeals Stands by Its Previous RulingNovember 16, 2023
Last year, the highest court in New York State, the Court of Appeals, heard the crucial redistricting case covering seats for Congress and state Senate on Tuesday, April 26, and issued their decision throwing out the maps drawn by the Legislature’s Democratic supermajority the next day, Wednesday, April 27. Disappointed that their attempted extreme partisan gerrymander was foiled by judges upholding the anti-gerrymander provisions of the state Constitution, the Democrats are trying again and yesterday had their new case before the top court. While we doubt the court will hand down its ruling today, it should and end this nonsense. The Democrats want the court-ordered map from last year, which was drawn by a Carnegie Mellon expert, junked and replaced with a new map created by the state’s hopelessly incompetent and split bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission and the Legislature. Last year, before the courts stepped in, both the IRC and the Legislature violated the Constitution. The Dems don’t contend that the current map is unfair (it’s actually the fairest, most competitive map in the country), but that the goal of the constitutional amendment approved by New Yorkers in 2014 is to have the map drawn by the IRC. That sounds high minded, until you realize that they are not challenging the Carnegie Mellon map for the state Senate, just for Congress. They don’t care about process, just results. There were five lawyers making oral arguments: Two for the Democrats urging that last year’s court-order congressional map (but not state Senate map) be scrapped, two for the Republicans opposing that partisan gambit and one for the governor and Attorney General Tish James (who was in the courtroom) siding with their fellow Dems. Their allocated 65 minutes stretched to an hour and 45 minutes as the judges peppered them. Assuming that the case wasn’t brought too late by the Democrats, which it clearly seems to have been, it should be dismissed because the state Constitution explicitly forbids any such mid-decade redistricting, as any new map would be — except when an existing map must be “modified” to correct an error. This map has no defect, as all sides agree. It achieves what the public wanted in the 2014 constitutional amendment. The IRC is not sacred, after its embarrassing outing last year, we shudder over 2032. And then there is exactly what the Dems are seeking. They want the IRC to produce its second map, which was due by Feb. 28, 2022. Absent firing up a time machine for all of us, what does that accomplish? Judges, this case is a lame Democratic donkey. Put it down.