The New York State Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a court-appointed special master draw up new congressional and State Senate districts, finding that the lines created earlier this year were gerrymandered to give Democrats an illegal advantage.
The 4-3 ruling found that the illegal maps violated a constitutional amendment passed in 2014 to avert unfair political advantage in redistricting. That amendment also created a bipartisan commission that was supposed to create acceptable districts, but that failed when the commission could not agree on a plan.
The decision said that the congressional and State Senate maps were drawn in a way that was “procedurally unconstitutional,” and specifically found that the congressional map was “drawn with impermissible partisan purpose.”
The ruling also could throw into disarray the state primaries, which were scheduled for June 28. With district lines pending, the process could also alter the candidate lineup as some may no longer live within certain district lines, or lead to others to jump in now.
One candidate, Melanie D’Arrigo, a Democrat running to succeed US Rep. Tom Suozzi in the Third Congressional District, supported the decision.
“Gerrymandering is fundamentally bad for our democracy, regardless of what party does it. It was wrong when Republicans gerrymandered the New York State Senate district boundaries in 2010 to maintain their hold on power, and it is wrong now. I will serve this district regardless of what its borders look like, and I will keep fighting for a Democratic majority in Congress and across our state. But I have said from the outset that the current maps represented an extreme gerrymander of NY-03 — one that would have made constituent services more inefficient, more resource-heavy, and more unfair to the people within its borders. This could have been avoided, and this situation will cause further delays and confusion for voters.
“That being said, I look forward to a later primary election date, where I hope to make the case for why we need to elect a lifelong New Yorker with a bold, progressive agenda to Congress. I also look forward to a map that ensures one of us can fight for all of us, uniting a fair district around our common goals.”
Representative from the Huntington Democratic and Republican parties did not return calls.
Under the Democrats’ plan, the Third Congressional District, which includes Huntington, would have stretched along the North Shore on Long Island through the Bronx and up to Rye.