Redistricting is not dead yet.
Even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a set of maps drawn by LATFOR that created a 63rd Senate district, several of the plaintiffs in the case that resulted in court-drawn Congressional lines have filed amended complaints against lines drawn by the Legislature, and the Senate and Assembly’s lawyers must answer the complaints by April 2nd, according to a recent court filing.
At that point, Roanne Mann, the special master appointed by a three-judge panel, will hold a status conference to determine what, if any, further action is needed on redistricting.
One set of complainants comes from the town of Ramapo, and says the new Assembly lines unfairly split the Orthodox Jewish community into three assembly districts.
“Based upon the proposed districts and the 2010 election results, there is no question that the Proposed Assembly districts were drawn specifically to separate the Villages of New Square and Kaser,” the plaintiffs write, alleging the new maps violate the state constitution and the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Another plaintiff’s amended complaint finds fault with both the Senate and Assembly’s lines in Nassau County, which the complainants argue crack districts that should be minority majority districts, disenfranchising black and Hispanic voters.
Still another complaint says the Assembly has not yet submitted its plans for redistricting to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance, and that the lack of an approved plan constitutes a violation of New Yorkers’ rights.
All of this is sort of a Hail Mary pass for the offended parties, given the fact that courts historically, and more recently in a redistricting case in Texas, will tend to default to plans that are already drawn by state legislatures, no matter how gerrymandered, as long as they don’t violate the Voting Rights Act.
But it can’t be fun for the defendants’ attorneys either, who most likely want to see the issue vanish until the next decade.
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