New York’s highest court on Tuesday ordered the state to redraw its congressional maps, a decision that could give Democrats an advantage as they seek to retake control of the House next year.
The state’s redistricting commission – the body charged with overseeing electoral district boundaries – will have to draw a new map, and New York’s Democrat-controlled state Legislature will ultimately have the final say over the new district lines.
The controversial move makes New York one of several states whose congressional maps were thrown out this year.
Ruling could give Democrats an edge in 2024
New York’s current electoral district maps were drawn by an independent expert, and led to Republicans flipping several suburban seats in the 2022 midterms and barely winning control of the House. Analysts agree that a new map is likely to be more favorable to Democrats. Elections whiz Dave Wasserman called it a big win for Democrats and a “huge deal for House control,” since the GOP majority is so narrow.
Other states have had to redraw their maps since 2022
Legal challenges in other states mostly centered around concerns of racial gerrymandering. Alabama and Georgia were forced to redraw their maps to include more majority-Black districts, while litigation is ongoing in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Louisiana, according to ABC News. The fate of 14 to 18 House seats are up in the air based on the legal challenges, CNN reported, but Republicans could still maintain an edge even after redrawing the maps. “Democrats kind of need to run the table” to gain a surefire edge, a political scientist said.
It may not be the end for New York legal challenges
A campaign group in favor of the current map had threatened another lawsuit if the current electoral districts were thrown out. A lawyer with the group, called Stop NY Corruption, called it a “power grab of the most shameful kind.” Democrats and Republicans could “come together and agree on a compromise map,” or Democrats could move forward with a map of their own, likely continuing the court fight, a professor and redistricting expert told NBC News. Republicans are already worried that Democrats will gerrymander the new map, drawing new lines that heavily favor the party. “There’s nothing fair about this,” Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-NY – who flipped a Democrat-held seat last year – wrote on X.