New York Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister late Friday released final New York congressional and state Senate maps. The new maps become law at midnight. The release comes after the original maps, drawn by New York Democrats, were overturned by McAllister in April.
The maps were drawn by Jonathan Cervas, a fellow at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York politicians criticized McAllister’s appointment of Cervas, a resident of Pennsylvania rather than New York. Congressional candidate Mondaire Williams stated:
The final maps released today are the result of partisan politics–drawn by an out-of-state, Republican court appointee who has shown utter disregard for cultural, social, and economic communities of interest. It is designed to reduce the number of NY Democrats in Congress.
Cervas originally released the first proposed maps for Congress and State Senate on May 16. In response to public feedback and criticism, Cervas made changes, such as reducing the Bed-Stuy neighborhood to one district rather than two.
Controversially, Cervas did not make changes to his Manhattan maps. Critics suggested splitting the district into North and South ares instead of West and East. Manhattan’s Orthodox Jewish community has been particularly critical of this split. Several New York politicians from the community claim it should receive “community of interest” status under the New York Constitution; this special status is given to groups with shared interests or traits that would be affected by legislation if divided during redistricting. 23 states recognize this status in their constitutions. Cervas responded, saying, “while this is a hard choice, I do not find a compelling community of interest argument for changing the configurations of Manhattan congressional districts in the proposed map.”
Both redistricting maps are final for the next decade, and no further lawsuits may challenge them.