New York Assembly district maps face constitutional challenge
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New York Assembly district maps face constitutional challenge

A press conference was held Wednesday to announce a constitutional challenge against the redistricting of the New York State Assembly’s electoral districts. Gary Greenberg and his legal counsel, Jim Walden of Walden Macht & Haran, filed a lawsuit against Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative officials alleging that State Assembly maps were gerrymandered “to protect Democratic incumbents.”

On April 27 the New York Court of Appeals held that the Congressional and Senate maps adopted by the New York Legislature were procedurally unconstitutional. However, according to a memorandum filed with the Court by Greenberg, the Legislature used the same unconstitutional procedure to adopt the current State Assembly map, rendering it equally invalid. Nonetheless, the Court of Appeals was compelled to refrain from granting relief as to the Assembly map because the current petitioners did not seek such relief in their petition. Therefore, Greenberg is making such a challenge in his motion.

The Court of Appeals also held that, in such circumstances, the proper remedy was for the State Supreme Court, with the aid of a neutral redistricting expert, to oversee redistricting of the congressional and State Senate maps. Greenberg seeks to extend the same remedy to the Assembly map.

In addition, Greenberg specifically requests in his lawsuit that the Court:

  • Delay the primary election date for the Assembly from June 28 to August 23, 2022 to allow the Special Master time to redraw voting districts in accordance with the New York State Constitution;
  • Enjoin the mailing of Assembly ballots for military personnel serving overseas until July 8, 2022;
  • Invalidate petitions submitted by existing candidates for any office, including for the New York State Assembly and Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and State-wide offices, for any petition containing signatories who fall outside the newly drawn districts; and
  • Re-open a petitioning period for every race, including for the New York State Assembly and Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and for state-wide offices such as Governor and Attorney, allowing new candidates to seek office based on the newly drawn election districts.

Any petition challenging the state’s redistricting legislation must be served to the attorney general, Senate president, Assembly speaker and governor.