In a ruling that deals a massive blow to Democrat hopes of stemming the tide of an anticipated Republican wave in the midterm elections, a state Supreme Court judge in New York approved a newly-drawn congressional district map that is seen by many as setting the stage for GOP gains, as the Washington Examiner reports.
As the New York Times further explains, the boundaries created by court-appointed mapmaker Jonathan Cervas were approved late on Friday, which could help facilitate noteworthy Democrat losses in November and force several high-profile incumbents to go head-to-head in primary battles.
The final product came on the heels of a decision last month from a state appeals court in which the panel determined that Democrats who had been responsible for developing new district lines had acted within their power in a procedural sense when creating new boundaries but that their map “was drawn to discourage competition and favor Democrats” contrary to law.
The outcome effectuated by Justice Patrick F. McAllister of Steuben County, as the Times noted, “effectively unwinds an attempted Democratic gerrymander, creates a raft of new swing seats across the state, and scrambles some carefully laid lines that have long determined centers of power in New York City.”
McAllister admitted that the eleventh-hour approval of the map, which occurred just minutes before a previously established deadline, was “less than ideal” but opined that the new district lines are “almost perfectly neutral,” allotting for 15 solidly safe Democrat seats, three clearly safe Republican seats, and another eight competitive districts, according to the Examiner.
Reacting to criticisms about the process through which the boundaries were developed, McAllister said, “Unfortunately, some people have encouraged the public to believe that now the court gets to create its own gerrymandered maps that favor Republicans. Such could not be further from the truth. The court is not politically biased.”
Perhaps sensing imminent electoral disaster, some New York Democrats expressed outrage at the situation they now face, with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D) describing the new map as a “constitutional travesty” and “enough to make Jim Crow blush,” as the Times noted.
Among the potentially awkward primary showdowns stemming from the new map is that between Democrat Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, who both pledged to run in the newly-constituted 12th Congressional District.
The battle over New York’s congressional boundary lines is one that has been replicated in numerous states across the country in recent months, and with Friday’s ruling, New Hampshire remains the only jurisdiction yet to finalize its map ahead of the potentially pivotal midterm contests.