ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/WUTR/WFXV/WPNY)– The New York Court of Appeals heard arguments in Buffalo to determine whether the Independent Redistricting Commission can create a new congressional map for next year’s election.
Republicans want Congressional district lines to stay the same, while Democrats want the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission to redo them again. Jeff Wice, an adjunct professor at New York Law School, said it could be a close decision.
“Four judges seemed very much inclined to go along with the petitioners here seeking a redo of the congressional mapping process,” said Wice. “And the three judges…seemed pretty much intent on not seeing this go forward.”
It will be a decision that could ultimately shape the make up of Congress. This lawsuit was filed by Democrats, after a special master was court ordered to redraw Congressional districts last year. It helped Republicans get a majority, flipping four seats red in the House of Representatives.
Democrats argue the map was only supposed to in place for one year, but Republicans disagree.
“The lines the special master drew last year gave New York more competitive districts, 9, than in any other state in the nation,” said Faso. “Competitive districts are a way to reduce political polarizations.”
Back in 2014, New Yorkers voted to have an Independent Redistricting Commission come up maps instead of the state legislature. But last year, the commission couldn’t agree on a single map, so state lawmakers did it themselves. A judge ruled those lines unconstitutional and ordered special master to create the map that was used in the 2022 elections.
According to Wice, The New York Court of Appeals could issue a ruling in mid-December.
“Although, at its discretion, the court can head out a decision anytime sooner than that. The key thing is to have a new map in place if that’s the way the court so decides, that a new map be in place by early February.”