May 25, 2022

Dems go down to defeat in key congressional redistricting fights

In the span of just one week, courts in two largely liberal states have rejected Democrat-drawn congressional district boundary maps, siding with Republicans who claimed that they resulted in unconstitutional gerrymandering, as The Hill reports.

Judges at the state court level in Maryland, as well as New York, found that legislatures led by Democrats created new congressional district lines in such a way as to provide undue advantage over Republican candidates, in a process triggered by the outcome of the 2020 census.

In the case of Maryland, Judge Lynne Battaglia rejected the Democrats’ new congressional district map, determining that “[b]ased upon the evidence adduced at trial…the 2021 plan was drawn with ‘partisanship as a predominant intent, to the exclusion of traditional redistricting criteria by the party in power, to suppress the voice of Republican voters,'” as the Washington Examiner noted.

Democrat Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh vowed to appeal, however, and the legislature in the state has passed a new set of maps that would take effect, but only if Judge Battaglia’s ruling is permitted to stand, according to The Hill.

Similarly, a state court judge in New York last week declared that new, Democrat-created congressional district boundaries were unconstitutionally gerrymandered and needed to be redrawn in order to withstand judicial scrutiny, as the New York Times explained.

Judge Patrick F. McAllister found that Democrat officials in Albany used the congressional district map re-drawing process to further their own partisan interest, and in doing so, violated a voter-approved constitutional provision preventing that type of gerrymandering.

Democrats in the Empire State have also vowed to appeal, with Mike Murphy, spokesperson for the Senate Democrats, saying, “This is one step in the process. We always knew this case would be decided by the appellate courts. We are appealing this decision and expect this decision will be stayed as the appeal process proceeds.”

Redistricting battles such as the aforementioned fights in Maryland in New York have been increasingly viewed as high-stakes scenarios the outcome of which could help Democrats ward off what could be a substantial Republican wave in the upcoming midterms capable of ending what has been one-party rule since President Joe Biden took office.

As map-drawing court decisions in states such as these โ€“ as well as in Wisconsin and Ohio โ€“ have recently gone against the Democrats’ wishes, as the Times noted, it seems that the left does have cause for real concern as November approaches and the GOP senses substantial tailwinds in its quest to recalibrate the balance of power in D.C.

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