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NY Redistricting Lawsuit May Result in GOP Losing Six House Seats

Lawsuits Could‌ Redraw Congressional Districts, Shaking Up 2024 Elections

Lawsuits challenging post-2020 Census congressional ​maps could⁤ see as many as 18 House incumbents⁣ across a ‌dozen states—including‌ up to 14 Republicans—campaigning in 2024 in districts different than those they⁢ won in 2022.

Most were filed by Democrats and received a boost in June ‍2023 when the United States Supreme Court ‌ruled Alabama’s Republican-led Legislature redistricting plan disadvantaged black voters and violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Challenges Underway

A dozen similar challenges underway in state and federal courts ⁢across the ‌country could result in redrawn Congressional ⁣districts before 2024’s election, including Alexander v.⁤ South Carolina State Conference of the ‌NAACP, heard before the ‍U.S. Supreme ​Court on Oct. 11.

None could ​be more ‍significant‌ than Republicans’ appeal of a New York Appellate Court’s ‌rejection of ⁢the state’s special-master drawn congressional‌ map‍ that saw GOP candidates gain four ​seats in 2022, turning Democrats’ 19–8 New York House bulge⁣ into a competitive 15–11 contingent.

Math Favors Democrats

Those four to six New ‍York seats are, ‌potentially, among ⁤as many⁣ as ​14 GOP House incumbents who ⁢could see court ⁢rulings alter their 2022-won districts ‌before​ 2024 elections.

In addition ⁤to⁤ the⁤ U.S. Supreme Court’s Alabama ruling and pending South Carolina‍ decision, if plaintiffs win ‌lawsuits in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and ‍Louisiana, ‍as⁤ many as 10 to 14 Republican-held congressional districts could be redrawn ‌before ‌next November to benefit Democrats.

The only 2024-pertinent legal action where Republicans could gain or retain ‍seats for​ the next election is the Hoffman appeal ⁣in⁢ New York, although the GOP is poised to gain as many‌ as three North ⁣Carolina congressional seats following ‍2023 ⁤redistricting.

After the North Carolina Supreme Court rejected the state’s 2022 maps, the GOP-dominant North Carolina ⁣state Legislature redrew a​ map analysts say imperils three⁢ House‌ Democrats⁢ and could turn the state’s 7–7 Congressional delegation into a 10–4 GOP-dominated contingent.

The‌ map has spurred legal challenges, but after Republicans flipped⁢ North Carolina’s Supreme Court in 2022, ‌and the new Court ‍promptly undid the map crafted ‍by its ‍Democrat-majority predecessor, state challenges are unlikely to ‌prevail ⁢while ⁣accompanying federal suits are unlikely to be heard before 2024’s‍ elections.

New Mexico’s state GOP committee appeal of a state ‌court reaffirmation of that state’s congressional maps was denied in October, ⁤the only other⁣ legal action ​that could​ have benefited Republican House candidates.

GOP ⁤in New York State of Bind

Post-Census redistricting is the responsibility of‌ the New ​York​ State⁢ Independent‍ Redistricting Commission (IRC). In early 2022, the bipartisan panel drafted two⁤ maps but ‍failed to reach a​ consensus on which one to⁣ endorse.

As a⁣ result, state lawmakers stepped in. The Democrat-dominated General Assembly ​devised a map that handicapped at least half⁣ the state’s House Republicans that Democrat‌ Gov.​ Kathy‍ Hochul subsequently ‍approved in March 2022.

The General Assembly’s map immediately drew a battery of lawsuits with⁣ mostly Republican plaintiffs arguing ‌the ​“Hochul-mandering” violated federal and state laws.

In April 2022, the⁢ State Court of‍ Appeals upheld those arguments in Harkenrider v. Hochul and Nichols v.⁤ Hochul in a 4–3 ‌ruling penned by then-Chief Judge Janet ‍DiFiore, who determined “judicial ⁢oversight is required‌ to facilitate the expeditious creation of constitutionally conforming maps for use in the 2022 elections.”

Her ruling ordered court-appointed ‍special master Jonathan​ Cervas to redraw the map. During the ensuing 2022 midterm elections, Republicans‌ gained four seats, turning what had been a​ 21–6⁢ Democrat-dominated House⁤ delegation ‌in 2018 into a 15–11 contingent in 2022.

The Democratic Congressional ⁢Campaign Committee filed a June 2022 lawsuit, Hoffman, ‌insisting the​ 2022 districts drawn by Mr. Cervas are only temporary and must be⁤ redrafted by the IRC and signed into law by the governor.

On July ⁣13, 2023, ​an Albany⁣ appellate court⁤ agreed with Hoffman plaintiffs in‍ a 3–2 ruling and‌ ordered the ​IRC to redraw the state’s congressional map.

“The⁤ procedures governing the redistricting process, ​all too easily⁤ abused by those who would seek to​ minimize the voters’ ​voice and entrench ‍themselves in the ​seats of power, must be guarded as jealously as the right to vote itself;‍ in granting this ‌petition, we return⁢ the matter⁤ to ⁣its constitutional design,” judges wrote in their opinion.

The ruling was applauded by Democrats.

Appeal and Future Redistricting

Republican intervenors appealed the July 13​ decision within two weeks. On Sept. ‍19, New York’s ‍Court of Appeals⁤ agreed ⁤to stay the IRC order until ‍the appeal is heard.

The appeal insists⁣ Hoffman comes too late after post-Census redistricting. Under the state’s Constitution, Republicans say, mid-decade redistricting is prohibited “unless⁤ to⁤ remedy a violation of law.”

Petitioners‌ argue the Court of Appeals’‍ April 2022 Harkenrider/Nichols ⁢rulings ‍“remedied the violation in law,” meaning “there’s no ​case.”

If the appeal fails, the​ IRC will get another chance to draw congressional⁤ maps, although lawmakers can amend it before sending it to the governor’s ‍desk. The commission‌ will need to​ hold 12 hearings across​ the state quickly ⁤if it is to get a map before lawmakers by March 2024.

What are the potential impacts of the ⁤lawsuits challenging current congressional maps?

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These lawsuits are not unusual, as redistricting disputes‍ and lawsuits frequently arise following the release of new Census data, which is used to redraw⁤ congressional‍ ​districts based on population changes. However, the potential scale and impact of these lawsuits on the 2024 elections⁣ have caught the attention of political analysts and candidates alike.

The lawsuits claim that⁤ the current congressional ​​maps in these states were drawn‍ with an intent to dilute the voting power of​ minority communities or to favor one political ⁢party over another, a practice known as ‌partisan or racial gerrymandering. They argue that these maps violate the constitutional rights of voters and undermine fair representation.

The ⁤Supreme Court ruling in‍ the Alabama case has given momentum to these challenges, as ​it sets a precedent for reviewing and striking down redistricting plans that undermine the ‍rights of minority voters. This has provided a ⁢legal basis for challenging similar plans‍ in​ other states, particularly those with a history of racial discrimination in voting.

The potential‌ impact of these challenges is significant. If the lawsuits are successful, congressional​ districts could be redrawn in a way that better reflects the demographic makeup of each state and ensures fair representation for all voters. This could result in more competitive elections and a shift in political power in some states.

For incumbents, the prospect of campaigning in unfamiliar districts poses a significant⁢ challenge. They may have to introduce themselves to new constituents and build support from⁢ scratch. At the same time, challeng

Read More From Original Article Here: New York Redistricting Lawsuit Could Cost Congressional Republicans Up to Six House Seats

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