In the leadup to 2024, Democratic leaders in Washington and Albany are reviving a legal battle to draw the lines back in their favor.
New York Democrats were lashed by the state’s highest court for attempting to gerrymander the state’s congressional districts before the 2022 midterms; the maps drawn in the aftermath helped Republicans flip four House seats.
But now, lawyers paid by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee argued before appellate judges in Albany on Thursday in favor of scrapping the court-drawn districts and returning the mapmaking powers to New York’s redistricting commission, and ultimately the State Legislature that gerrymandered the lines originally. It’s a case destined to go back to the Court of Appeals, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most important redistricting cases related to the 2024 cycle.
Under the current maps, heavily Democratic New York is one of the country’s most competitive battle sites for the House of Representatives. But if the Legislature is once again given the power to draw, Democratic lawmakers could conceivably flip as many as six of the 11 seats back to them. This would negate potential Republican gains from a similar case playing out in the South.
“With the likelihood Republicans will re-gerrymander the lines in North Carolina, the legal fight over New York’s lines could determine whether Democrats stay in contention for House control in 2024,” said Dave Wasserman, an elections analyst with the Cook Political Report, citing how surprisingly competitive the state was in 2022.
Legal experts are uncertain about the Democrats’ chances of success, but given the shifting composition of the state’s top court, where a new chief and associate judge have pushed the bench leftward this spring, their odds may not be as remote as it may seem.