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Hochul, James challenge NY Congressional map: Seek redrawing by independent commission

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James filed a brief on Friday, arguing that the current congressional map created by a court-appointed special master should not remain in place until 2030. They believe that the state Independent Redistricting Commission should be given ample time to produce new maps following the process outlined in the state Constitution.

Special Master Jonathan Cervas was appointed to create the congressional map for the 2022 elections after the state Legislature rejected the Independent Redistricting Commission’s proposed maps and the state Court of Appeals dismissed the Legislature’s alternative. Hochul and James contend that an independent body with public input should draw the congressional district maps, emphasizing transparency and public engagement.

The bipartisan commission is responsible for drafting new state Assembly, Senate, and U.S. congressional district lines every decade following the U.S. census. The state Legislature dismissed the commission’s maps after the 2020 census, and the state Court of Appeals invalidated the maps on April 27, 2022. This led to the appointment of a special master to develop new lines for the contentious elections last year.

Hochul and James argue in their brief that the state constitution requires the Legislature to have the opportunity to address invalid electoral maps. They urge the Appellate Division to reverse the lower court order and direct the Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw the congressional delegation’s election district lines according to the Constitution.