An upstate judge gave embattled New York Democrats some breathing space on Friday by giving them additional time to submit changes to their illegally doctored congressional lines to the man accused of redrawing them following a state supreme court ruling that canceled the maps.
“We intend to file a proposed plan with Congress no later than April 30, 2022, which is the deadline set by the Appellate Division, and we hope to be able to file it tomorrow,” said attorney Eric Hecker, who represents state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in a letter Friday to state Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister.
Republicans had argued that it would be unfair to show leniency to Democrats considering the efforts of Republican lawyers to meet the original deadline set by McAllister.
“[Republicans] met this April 22 deadline under very significant time pressures as they were preparing for the merits brief and oral argument before the Appellate Division, as well as the supplemental brief and oral argument before the Court of Appeals, during the period from April 18 to 22. [Democrats] they decided to sit idly by, hoping to win the appeal,” reads Republican attorney Bennett Moskowitz’s April 29 letter to the judge.
A Stewart-Cousins spokesman, Mike Murphy, confirmed the extension Friday.
Murphy said in a statement earlier in the day that “active litigation had not yet concluded and, as expected, the Court authorized additional filings after its final decision was issued” in response to a request for comment on why Democrats they did not present the proposed lines in Congress. McAllister considering the possibility that they would eventually be overturned by the Court of Appeals.
Many Democrats had hoped for a favorable ruling from the state’s supreme court, whose justices have been appointed by their party’s governors, but the court ultimately sided with the Republican plaintiffs in a narrow 4-3 decision.
The ruling means that state Senate and congressional primaries will be moved from June to August, while statewide and Assembly elections will remain in June, a situation that could cost taxpayers millions of additional dollars compared with a consolidated primary date.
The Court of Appeals ruling also struck down legislative approval of the state Senate map, finding that state lawmakers lacked the authority to approve them after the Independent Redistricting Commission failed to deliver new lines for state lawmakers to approved them, after an earlier round of maps rejected by the commission.
Democrats have until May 4 to provide new lines for the state Senate after successfully petitioning McAllister to move the deadline a day earlier so there can be a full day to consider lines proposed by all sides to master court-appointed special Jonathan Cervas.
You have until May 20 to submit maps for McAllister’s approval.
The overturned lines in Congress would have given Democrats a huge boost to flip several Republican seats in the US House of Representatives in the midterm elections that appear favorable to the GOP. Democrats were also poised to expand their supermajority in the state Senate until the Court of Appeals ruling radically changed the electoral landscape in the Empire State.
Albany Democrats have yet to say whether they will pursue legislative action that would move the party’s primaries for statewide positions like governor and Assembly, which could help Gov. Kathy Hochul fire former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin as her running mate despite of the continuous resistance of the Democratic legislators.
The governor has a public event scheduled for Friday at 4 pm in Albany.