Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Redistricting fight heads to court
From the NY Times:
A federal judge on Tuesday named a panel to consider whether to take New York State’s redistricting process out of the hands of lawmakers and appoint a special master to remake the state’s political map.
The action by Dennis G. Jacobs, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is the latest twist in the slowly evolving effort by New York to redraw its Assembly, Senate and Congressional districts, as required by law, to reflect population shifts identified by the 2010 Census.
The Legislature has proposed new maps for the Assembly and Senate districts, but those maps have been widely criticized by government watchdog groups, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has vowed to veto them. The Legislature has not yet proposed new maps of Congressional districts, even though another federal judge has ordered the state to hold a Congressional primary in late June.
Judge Jacobs on Tuesday issued a one-sentence order appointing the three-judge panel in response to a request lodged the day before by a Brooklyn-based Federal District Court judge, Dora L. Irizarry. Judge Irizarry is overseeing a lawsuit filed by civic leaders seeking court intervention.
Mr. Cuomo, addressing the redistricting issue at a news conference on Tuesday, had long predicted that the courts would get involved. “This is not the first time we’ve been to this dance,” he said.