Redistricting Update

On Thursday, the state’s highest court rejected a challenge to the state’s new Senate lines.

The Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a trial-level judge who found that using the different formulas to establish voting boundaries was not unconstitutional. The Senate’s Democratic Minority argued that the Majority Republicans improperly used two different formulas to redraw the election map that created a 63rd Senate district upstate.

The court wrote: 

“It is not our task to address the wisdom of the methods employed by the Legislature in accomplishing their constitutional mandate.  Rather, here, we consider only whether the methods chosen amount to ‘a gross and deliberate violation of the plain intent of the Constitution.”

The newly-created district (the 46th Senate District) mostly covers Republican suburbs west and south of Albany.

The Republicans now hold a 32-30 majority in the Senate, including most of the upstate and Long Island seats.

The Court of Appeals decision, coupled with the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to “pre-clear” the state’s legislative lines last week, makes it highly unlikely that the courts will force any revisions to the state’s legislative lines.  They also make it much more likely that the Senate Republicans will remain in the majority in 2013.