GOP Could Lose House Seat Over Legal Ruling

A New York court ordered the state’s congressional map to be redrawn – a decision that could increase the number of House seats held by Democrats. The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court ruled that maps drawn up by the courts in 2022 were temporary, and the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) must now commence work to create new maps. Republicans say they will challenge the latest decision to the highest courts in the state.

If a GOP challenge fails and the ruling goes into effect, experts suggest Republican Reps. Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Anthony D’Esposito, and George Santos could all be forced out. Former GOP Rep. John Faso said, “Democrats want to rig the congressional district lines in their favor.”

The case began with the filing of a lawsuit by a group of ten New York voters who argued that the IRC should submit new congressional lines in time for the 2024 elections. The lawsuit followed a battle in 2022 during which the IRC, which comprises Democrats and Republicans, could not agree on a set of maps for last year’s elections. The Democrat-controlled legislature stepped in and created district proposals that would have given Democrats an advantage in 22 of the 26 seats.

The GOP challenged the legislature-created maps and the courts ruled in its favor – allowing for a redraw that flipped four congressional districts from Democrat to Republican. The court declared that the legislature did not have the authority to redraft a congressional map and that the task is the sole preserve of the IRC.

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the US House Republican conference, reacted with fury to the latest decision. “The Appellate Division majority’s conclusion guts the New York Constitution’s explicit prohibition against mid-decade redistricting. When Democrats can’t compete, they cheat,” she said.

It is unclear when a final conclusion will be reached, as Republicans not only intend to challenge the current decision but also an IRC map that advantages Democrats.