NJ Supreme Court Rejects GOP Efforts to Launch Redesigned Congressional District Map – NBC New York

What there is to know

  • The New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a Republican lawsuit seeking to dismiss the new map of the congressional district favored by Democrats.
  • The order means the Congressional map approved just before Christmas by the redistricting commission will stand. The map will apply for the next decade until the 2030 federal census and a new map is drawn.
  • This map, chosen by the decisive 13th member of the panel, Chairman John Wallace, was proposed by the Democratic members of the commission. Republicans sued soon after, alleging the card was an unfair gerrymander.

The New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a Republican lawsuit seeking to dismiss the new map of the congressional district favored by Democrats.

The order means the Congressional map approved just before Christmas by the redistricting commission will stand. The map will apply for the next decade until the 2030 federal census and a new map is drawn.

This map, chosen by the decisive 13th member of the panel, Chairman John Wallace, was proposed by the Democratic members of the commission. Republicans sued soon after, alleging the card was an unfair gerrymander.

Wallace said both maps met criteria he set out, including adhering to Voting Rights Law and maintaining geographic boundaries. But, he said, his choice to side with the Democrats dates back to a decade ago when the Republican card was chosen.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, writing for the court in a 24-page order, said the GOP complaint never claimed the final map was illegal or the result of “heinous discrimination.”

“We review redistricting plans only to determine if the selected map is ‘illegal.’ As long as the final map is constitutional, the Court cannot grant any relief,” Rabner wrote. decide whether one card is fairer or better than another.”

Republican commissioner Doug Steinhardt said he was disappointed but not surprised by the court’s decision.

Republicans raised a number of concerns, including that Wallace and his wife had previously contributed to Democrats. But the state constitution does not prohibit this and it is not disqualifying, the court wrote.

The commission is inherently political, the court wrote.

“It is vital that the public have confidence in the important work of the Commission. Issues of partisanship or the appearance of partisanship can affect public confidence, but our current system is designed to be overseen by twelve partisan members and a thirteenth member nominated by party delegations,” Rabner wrote.

The order goes on to point out that some states like Arizona, California and Michigan have independent commissions to draw congressional boundaries, but stops short of recommending a similar change in New Jersey.

“Ultimately, the choice is left to the people of our state,” Rabner wrote.

The new map could lead to a 9-3 Democratic edge in the state’s 12 U.S. House seats, according to the GOP. Democrats did not concede the breakdown.

Currently, the Democrats hold 10 seats to the GOP’s two. Prior to Democratic takeovers in 2016 and 2018, the map was split evenly, with Democrats and Republicans each holding six seats.

Among the changes reflected in the new map is a shuffling of the usually competitive 3rd District, which previously included Burlington and Ocean counties and is represented by Democratic Rep. Andy Kim. Ocean County was removed from the district entirely and replaced with parts of Mercer and Monmouth, which could help him in a re-election effort because Ocean County is a GOP stronghold. Kim’s victory in 2018 was a Democratic win for Republicans.

Another change is the addition of all of GOP-leaning Warren County to the 7th District, which is currently represented by Democrat Tom Malinowski. Malinowski won the seat in 2018 for the Democrats, beating Republican Leonard Lance.

The 5th District, where Democrat Josh Gottheimer ousted an incumbent Republican in 2016, no longer has cities in Warren County, but has added a few in Bergen County, the largest county in the state where Democrats have performed well recently.

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