ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/WETM) – At the New York State Court of Appeals Tuesday morning, a group of seven judges heard oral arguments in the controversial redistricting case.
“It was a very active bench,” said John Faso, a former Republican Congressman, an advisor to the Republican petitioners that brought the lawsuit.
The lawsuit focuses on the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC), a group that was comprised of five Democrats and five Republicans. They were originally tasked with drawing the maps, but failed to agree upon one set, and ended up submitting two maps, one from each party.
Both sets of maps were struck down, resulting in the state legislature drawing their own. The lawsuit alleges that since the IRC never met to draw the second set of maps, the state legislature had no right to draw the lines themselves.
Last week, a lower court ruled that these maps had been illegally gerrymandered and drawn in favor of Democrats. But, these aren’t the grounds petitioners are arguing on, this time around.
“We felt the judges asked good questions, and it appeared to us that they were more focused on the violation of the process that we alleged the legislature made than on the substantive gerrymandering argument,” Rep. Faso.
One lawyer representing the state argued that lawmakers followed the process as dictated.
“The Legislature properly stepped in, and that’s according to the 2021 legislation that was passed, to fill precisely this silence in the constitutional procedures,” said Jeffrey Lang, Deputy Solicitor General in the Office of Attorney General.
According to experts involved in the case, a ruling is expected within the next two days. Depending on the court’s decision, the Congressional Primary could get pushed back to August.
The lawyer representing the Democrats was contacted but did not respond.