Federal Judge Called In To Help Guide Redistricting

Tuesday, a panel of federal judges declined to dismiss a legal challenge to New York State’s redistricting process, instead naming a federal judge to assist in drawing up new district maps, writes the New York Times.

The panel mandated that lawyers for New York’s legislative leaders convene with federal magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann at Brooklyn’s Eastern District courthouse next Monday for an arbitrated end to the partisan fight over new district boundaries.

The proposals as they stand serve to strengthen the reelection prospects for Democrats in the Assembly districts and Republicans in the state Senate districts. This should not come as a surprise to political pessimists, as Democrats control the former legislative body with Republicans holding a majority in the latter.

The consolidation of traditionally loyal ethnic constituencies also seemed to have played a role in the redrawing of Southern Brooklyn’s legislative boundaries.

Democrats had submitted a proposal for a 51% Asian Assembly district by splicing together portions of Bensonhurst with Sunset Park, while Republicans created a so-called “Super Jewish” state Senate district out of a combination of Orthodox Jewish sections of Borough Park, Midwood, and Flatbush.

According to the Times, lawmakers have yet to propose maps of the state’s U.S. Congressional districts. New York state, which must cut the size of its Congressional delegation to 27, from 29, is scheduled to hold its Congressional primary on June 26.

Governor Andrew Cuomo had previously vowed to veto both gerrymandered district maps.