State Judge Finds NYS Congressional and Legislative Districts That Were Gerrymandered to Benefit Democrats Unconstitutional - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, September 28, 2023

State Judge Finds NYS Congressional and Legislative Districts That Were Gerrymandered to Benefit Democrats Unconstitutional

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By Gary Tilzer

Steuben County Judge Patrick McAllister throws out New York State redistricting maps. An appeal is expected which triggers an automatic stay, according to a source. Case expected to go all the way to the State Court of Appeals. On December 11th, the Jewish Voice wrote: The Republican’s hope is the courts, which has shown a reluctance to get involved in gerrymandering, but if the partisan district lines were ruled unconstitutional by a judge, it would require the lines to be redrawn against and could delay the primaries. The last time a NY primary was delayed (due to the World Trade Center Attack), Bloomberg pulled a surprise upset over the favored front runner Mark Green.

Judge McAllister said in his surprise ruling that New York’s Democrat-controlled Legislature must redraw the state’s congressional and legislative districts after finding they were unconstitutional. The judge said the districts were gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. He wrote in his ruling that the “process used” by state Democrats “to enact the 2022 redistricting maps was unconstitutional. “Specifically, McAllister wrote that state Democrats ignored provisions under a 2014 constitutional amendment designed to prevent partisan district drawing that govern the way the Legislature must consider maps drawn by a bipartisan commission. McAllister said those districts must be redrawn by April 11, 2022, along with the legislative districts, in a way that attracted at least some bipartisan support.

State Senator Mike Gianaris was against gerrymandering before he was for it. Mow he is leading the aggressive redistricting. Photo Credit:

Judge McAllister acknowledged in his opinion that trying to redraw the maps now could upend the election cycle. But he proposed that the state could delay its primaries to as late as Aug. 23 without disrupting the general election. He said the Republicans who challenged the map had proven “beyond a reasonable doubt that the map was enacted with political bias.” “The enacted congressional map shows virtually zero competitive districts,” McAllister wrote.

The judge, a Republican, also found that the state’s new congressional maps, which favor Democrats in 22 of 26 seats, had broken New York’s new prohibition on partisan gerrymandering — essentially accusing Democrats of using the same practices for which they have decried Republicans. State Democrats immediately said they would appeal the ruling, a move that would likely stay Justice McAllister’s decision and could mean that this year’s elections proceed apace on the lines adopted by Democrats in February. Democrats could challenge the ruling in either the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court or the State Court of Appeals — New York’s highest court. Both venues are expected to be more favorable to Democrats than rural Steuben County. “The Conservative Party has maintained from the beginning that the maps drawn by the Democratically controlled Legislature violated the State Constitution,” said Gerard Kassar, Chairman of the NYS Conservative Party. “We are pleased to have a Judge after hearing days of testimony and piles of evidence agree with our assessment,”

In his ruling, Judge McAllister said the maps were drawn with political bias and cannot be used for any upcoming elections, including the June primary. The lawsuit, filed by 14 Steuben County residents, claimed the new maps were “undeniably politically gerrymandered” after four republican seats were knocked out by the maps. If their new maps fail to pass muster on the redrawn line submitted on April 11th in the courts again, then the judge said he would order the state to pay for a court-approved expert to redraw the maps. Legislative leaders said they would appeal the ruling. In the process argument he essentially said the Independent Redistricting Committee did not do its job in attempting to work together to make maps nor did it send two sets of plans to the Legislature as required. State and federal district lines are redrawn every 10 years based on new census data. New York state lost a congressional seat in the 2020 Census.

Democrats Using the Redistricting Process to Their Advantage

– NY State Senate Districts (image via Google Maps)

Democrats deadlock the Independent Redistricting Commission to give the Democratic controlled Assembly and State Senate to draw the redistricting line. Now they are appealing Judge McAllister’s decision to declare their one-party line unconstitutional, sending the case to a mid-level state appeals court or New York’s Court of Appeals, who could set the judge’s decision aside. All seven members of that high court were appointed by Democrats.

State Senator Gianaris  and Other Leaders of the Partisan Redistricting Hiding Behind Their Spokesman “This is one step in the process,” said Michael Murphy, a spokesman for the State Senate Democrats. “We always knew this case would be decided by the appellate courts.” Albany Democrats ignored the will of New Yorkers who demanded fair, independent redistricting. Instead, they adopted partisan maps to protect themselves,” he said. “This is a victory for [all] New Yorkers.

State Courts Increasing Going After One-Party Partisan Gerrymandering

State courts have played a growing role in moderating what is essentially a 50-state political battle, after the federal courts were largely sidelined by a 2019 Supreme Court ruling. Particularly in states where one party controls the mapmaking process, they have provided the only real venue for voters and members of the opposing party to challenge partisan gerrymandering. Judges in Ohio and North Carolina have already ruled against maps where Republican-led legislatures drew lines that clearly favored their party’s candidates. And just last week, a judge in Maryland ruled that lines that would have given Democrats an advantage in at least seven of eight districts were an “extreme gerrymander” and gave lawmakers just a few days to attempt a new configuration. The final NY State Congressional maps will have broader implications as Democrats at the national level seek to retain control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections.

The Jewish Voice Wrote that In 2014 the NY Times and A Federal Judge Wrote That the Independent Redistricting Commission Was Not Independent

Republicans are counting on a provision in the 2014 Constitutional Amendment that the Democrats have ignored, and the voters passed, which stated “Districts shall not be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.” In 2014, State Supreme Court Justice Patrick McGrath ruled that the commission “cannot be described as ‘independent’.” The judge ordered the Board of Elections to delete the word “independent” from the description of Proposal #1 that appeared on the 2014 ballot since the commission members would in fact be named by the State Legislature, which according to the amendment could also reject the commission’s redistricting recommendations. A bipartisan commission was given the power by NY votes in 2014 to draw new state and federal legislative districts, after every new census. The voters voted on an Independent Redirecting Commission Amendment that gave Albany the power to control the commission. Before the public voted the leaders of the Assembly, State Senate and Governor Cuomo conspired to control the appointments to the Commission, so they can draw favorable lines for their members, just like they did in the past. The redistricting commission was only proposed after legislators and the governor received a lot of criticism for breaking their signed pledges to turn over the redistricting process to an independent panel in 2012. Legislators, governors, and almost every elected official, only care about one thing, getting reelected. So, the Albany gang did what they always do, they set up a Potemkin Commission, full of hidden loopholes from the public, to draw favorable districts, to keep themselves in power.

The NY Times wrote in an editorial on 10/28/14 that voters should defeat the Independent Redistricting Commission Amendment: Proposal One is a constitutional amendment to revise the state’s redistricting procedure. This is a phony reform that purports to establish a new system of drawing legislative districts. Legislative leaders would appoint a committee charged with drawing new districts. If the legislators do not like the first two tries, they can draw the districts themselves. The net result would be to reinforce, not reform, a system that virtually guarantees job security for incumbents and discourages competition. Vote no on Proposal One.

Independent Voting Commission Fails on Cue –  Politicians Again Draw Their Own District Lines

On January 10, 2022, the Jewish Voice warned that the so-called Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) would not reach an agreement on new state and federal redistricting lines. The JV article, The Kabuki Dance Redistricting Incumbent Protection One-Party NY Fix is In, predicted that the IRC would not agree on new district maps. The JV reported that new Congressional, Assembly and State Senate maps would be partisan gerrymandered, to limit the number of seats a Republican can win in the state. More importantly, we warned that the level of competency of NY’s government would decrease and the level of corruption with one party drawn districts would increase. The Founding Fathers set up a system of divided government to protect us from our own government. One-party control hurts which works against the founder’s governing principle, hurting our democracy and the ability to meet the people’s needs. In one-party state elected officials gain Orwellian type power of the voters, drawing the maps is just one example. With the breakdown of NYC local media in the last 20-years one-party power has increased to dangerous levels.

The Secret 2014 Deal Between the Assembly Democrats, Senate Republican and Cuomo to Cut Out the Independent Redistricting Commission Boomeranged Against the GOP

Leaders in Albany under pressure to support independent redistricting after promising to do so in 2012, created a so call bi-partisan Independent Redistricting Commission that allowed them to remain in control of the redistricting behind the scenes, by picking its members. The Republicans who have been in control of the Senate for all but three years since the 1920’s, assumed that would they be in control of the State Senate in 2022.

The redistricting agreement for a Potemkin Independent Redistricting Commission between the 2014 Albany leaders blew apart when the left-wing anti-IDC candidates defeated seven of the eight Democratic Senators working with the GOP. The Democratic redistricting leaders are now following their former great Tammany Hall leader, George Washington Plunkitt, advice “Saw My Opportunities and Took ’Em.” The resulting partisan redistricting is making Democrats the favorites in redrawn districts currently held by Republicans on Long Island, Staten Island and in Central New York. They would also help tighten the party’s hold on swing seats ahead of what is expected to be a strong Republican election cycle, all while eliminating a fourth Republican seat upstate altogether.

Frank Morano Twitter @frankmorano The problem with NY’s redistricting process from the outset, was that it was bipartisan instead of non-partisan. As long as the two parties maintain a duopoly over political power, the voters will never get a fair shake.

On Cue Democrats on New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission deadlocked the alleged bipartisan panel a day before it was to submit redrawn state and congressional boundaries to state lawmakers. The five Democratic members of the 10-person commission issued a statement Monday stating that Republicans on the panel have “refused to agree to a compromise” and negotiate the map proposals. The five Republicans on the commission counter charged that “the Democrat-appointed commissioners have no incentive to work cooperatively toward a consensus plan and, in fact, they purposely scuttled the process so that the determination of district lines would be tossed back to a legislature controlled by Democratic supermajorities.”   With the independent commission failing, it in effect passed the baton to the Democratic controlled State Legislature to draw the new district maps. Republicans are locked out of the reapportionment process, leaving a court challenge to declare the lines the democrats produce as unconstitutional, the only option NY Republicans have left to influence the redistricting process.

Jewish Voice Was Right: Independent Redistricting is Dead As Albany Democrats Draw New Partisan Political Districts Jewish Voice January 26, 2022

One-party redistricting: 1) Assure the left-wing increasing political control of NY; 2) Assure two million non-democrat registered moderate voters cannot vote in the election that already chooses 85% of the city’s elected officials, the Democratic Primary; 3) The current insiders who have not solved the city’s problems, made them worse, will have more power to control City Hall and Albany; 4) It’s about the public being cut out twice – once after voting for Independent redistricting and second building powerful incumbents that will not listen to them. NY Dems Aggressive Redistricting Mirrors Their Charges Against Republicans: NY’s Government, Democracy & Opposition to Suffer

Last December the Jewish Voice Predicted That the Democratic Redistricting Would Eliminate the Only Republican Congressional District in the City

Jewish Voice 12/11/2021: In 2020, incumbent Democratic Max Rose lost to Republican Nicole Malliotakis 137,198 46.8% to 155,608 53.1% in the Staten Island/Brooklyn congressional district. Rose recently Tweeted: “I’m running for Congress in #NY11 because I can’t sit by while Republicans tear us apart just to hold onto power. The buzz among the insiders who belong to NYC’s political class is that Rose will receive after redistricting a more Democratic leaning district. Looking at the demographics and voting patterns in Southern Brooklyn that just elected the first Republican Assemblywoman, Inna Vernikov, the Albany map makers have their work cut out. In the current Malliotakis district Trump defeated Biden 55.3 percent to 44.7 — a solid 10.6 percentage point victory. In the new Staten Island district, Biden would have taken about 55% of the vote and Trump 45%. Malliotakis defeated Rose by about 6 percentage points. None of Brooklyn Republican Council member Vernikov district located in Southern Brooklyn, close to Staten Island is in the Democratic drawn Malliotakis district, very liberal Park Slope located in Northern Brooklyn is. There is a feeling that the new districts are being cut by a trained brain surgeon helped by a demographic-voting history Orwellian Big Brother Computer, which was put together well before last week’s deadlocking of the Independent Redistricting Commission. That allowed the Legislature, in which Democrats have a supermajority, to draw their own maps. Gov. Hochul signed off on the final product in February, all but guaranteeing Dems would maintain their control of Albany and dominate the congressional delegation for the next decade.


What Happens If NYC Has 100% Democratic Congressional Delegations and the Republicans Take Over the Congress in 22 & the White House in 24?

Although Senate Majority Leader Schumer has taken the pressure off of the mayor, governor, and the MTA to avoid cuts to balance the budgets in 2022, by funneling billion of COVID dollars into the city, nobody in the press is asking questions of what happens if both the house and senate are taken over by the GOP later this year. In 1983 when Reagan was president, Republican U.S. Senator Al D’Amato led the fight to stop the section in the president’s budget which reduced funding for NY’s mass transit.

Deputy Senate Majority Leader Gianaris Railed Against Gerrymandering in 2012 — But Now He’s Leading his Chamber Pushing for Partisan Redistricting

Sen. Mike Gianaris Twitter @SenGianaris Aug 31, 2011: Gerrymandering throughout the state must be stopped. #keepyourpledge

Senator Gianaris was against gerrymandering before he was for it, now he is leading the aggressive redistricting. Redistricting to Politicians is Like Drugs are to A Junkie They Don’t Care What the Public Sees or Understands. The hypocrite State Senator voted against the 2014 Independent Redistricting Commission, even made a video in 2012 when he was against cutting up communities for political gain. The Democratic senator from Astoria who killed the Amazon Headquarters deal for Long Island City is being called out for a trail of comments he made a decade ago claiming he opDonatebalance of natureposed gerrymandering of legislative maps to benefit a political party — when Republicans were in control of the State Senate. Gianaris now maintains the new lines are far fairer than the congressional boundaries drawn a decade ago by Republicans in the state Senate (a federal special master drew the last Congressional lines in 2012). Gianaris lies that his party did not engage in gerrymandering despite proposing a new congressional map that even the anti-GOP NY Times calls “A ‘Master Class’ in Gerrymandering.” Gianaris’ now legally challenged controversial proposal could cut the number of Republicans in the NY delegation in half, giving Democrats 85% of the congressional districts, despite the party only having 50% of the registered state voters.

The Kabuki Dance Redistricting Incumbent Protection One-Party NY Fix is In Jewish Voice December 11, 2021

Despite the fact that New Yorkers have voted twice for independent redistricting of legislative and congressional districts lines which are redrawn after every 10-year census, the map drawing has traditionally been meticulously, if sometimes awkwardly, controlled by incumbent Albany lawmakers. In Sept when a new Independent Redistricting Commission created by the voters was supposed to produce the first draft of the new Assembly, Senate and Congressional lines, the redistricting commission could not agree on a proposal. Democrats and Republicans on the redistricting commission each drafted their own plan –Wash Post.




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