Return to News Dec 12, 2023

In Victory for Voters, New York Court of Appeals Orders Redistricting Commission to Redraw Congressional Map

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a group of New York voters represented by Elias Law Group attorneys, ordering the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw the state’s congressional maps in accordance with a set of constitutional amendments to the redistricting process ratified by New York voters in 2014.

Elias Law Group partner Aria Branch, who represented the petitioners in this case and argued on their behalf before the New York State Court of Appeals last month, released the following statement:

“In 2014, New Yorkers decided that future congressional maps would be drawn through a fair and democratic process. The promise of the Redistricting Amendments has yet to be realized: Last year, due to exigent circumstances, New York voters had to cast their ballots under a congressional map that was hastily drawn by an out-of-state special master and disregarded the state’s communities of interest. But the transparent redistricting process that New Yorkers deserve need only be delayed, not denied.

“We are thrilled that the Court of Appeals recognized the Independent Redistricting Commission’s constitutional duty to redraw New York’s congressional map and affirmed that the commissioners must now finish the job they started two years ago. We will continue to advocate for an open and fair redistricting process that recognizes New Yorkers’ racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity.”

“In 2014, the voters of New York amended our Constitution to provide that legislative districts be drawn by an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). The Constitution demands that process, not districts drawn by courts. Nevertheless, the IRC failed to discharge its constitutional duty. That dereliction is undisputed. The Appellate Division concluded that the IRC can be compelled to reconvene to fulfill that duty; we agree. There is no reason the Constitution should be disregarded.,” wrote Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson.

Elias Law Group attorneys Aria Branch, Rachel Jacobs, Jonathan Hawley, Richard Medina, Aaron Mukerjee, and Sam Ward-Packard contributed to this case.