How New York Democrats Could Redistrict George Santos—And the Republican Majority—Out of the House

When Aria Branch walks into the Supreme Court of the State of New York, she will be focusing on the thrilling Section 5BA or even the arcane Section 4E of Article III of the state constitution. She is keenly aware of the stakes involved, knowing that if she wins, she could once again increase the chances of George Santos, the Republican, losing his bid for reelection in 2024 and shifting control of the US House of Representatives back into the hands of the Democratic Party, with Hakeem Jeffries becoming the first Black speaker of the House from Brooklyn. “We’re really focused on the procedure here,” she coolly says.

Pepper David says, “The Supreme Court looks to be on the verge of undoing the last protections against racially-driven gerrymandering. And, if you’re seeing an intensity around gerrymandering that’s the worst it’s ever been, you’re miles away from neutralizing Republican voting power in rural parts of the state connected to urban areas with Democrats in Illinois. In North Carolina, a recently validated plan by the Supreme Court could lock the GOP in a long-running, lopsided majority in the state’s congressional delegation and legislature. Redistricting is a key piece of the larger battle playing out in state legislatures and courts that threatens democracy.”

Restrictions on what legislatures can do to manipulate voting district boundaries, California, Arizona, and Michigan are witnessing some reform, but the ultimate solution is a nationwide one, according to Pepper. Strategies to create a fairer political landscape are proposed in Pepper’s latest book, Saving Democracy. Gaining control of state legislatures is the objective in controlling redistricting, a campaign initiated by Karl Rove in 2010. Democrats have been disappointingly slow to counteract this agenda. Republicans attempting to manipulate voting district boundaries are diluting the influence of Black voters in Pepper’s home state, Ohio. Pepper, a former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, has personally witnessed this issue.

In November’s midterm elections, the GOP managed to gain three seats in the House of Representatives, despite a narrow majority. This was largely due to the assistance of Republicans in Washington, who handed off the responsibility to a fellow postdoctoral political science researcher from out-of-state. The judge declared that the proposed lines were biased and neutral boundaries were supposedly crafted, but in a small Republican town, the map drawn by the Democrat-majority legislature ended up benefiting the Democrats. This effort by the Democrats to fight fire with fire boomeranged, just like it did last year in New York.

There are certainly means available to fight back the law within us, but we would never do that. The other side shows no hesitation to cross legal boundaries in their advance. Any less aggressive map would not have yielded a better outcome. He claims, “That criticism is absolutely ridiculous.” Even though the Democrats initially proposed a more favorable map, Gianaris still believes that the strategy led to an unfavorable court decision. Better lines may not have ultimately made a difference in winning these races, says Gianaris. “Maybe one seat,” Good candidates could still have won these races. “The lines didn’t help, but they only hurt the margins,” says Gianaris. Mike Gianaris, a State Senator, is one of the leading architects behind the map that is being replaced by the court. Many fingers were pointed and there was plenty of blame to go around after Kathy Hochul’s lackluster campaign for Governor.

Elias’s clientele has included the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, although the company did not respond to a phone call requesting a comment on the entity responsible for covering its expenses in this particular case. The case is being initiated on behalf of ten dissatisfied residents of New York. The map should be returned to the Independent Redistricting Commission of the state for a redo, as ELG argues that the boundaries utilized for New York’s 2022 elections were intended to be a temporary, emergency solution. Branch, a partner at ELG, previously served as the legal advisor to Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign. ELG was established by Marc Elias, who also served as Hillary Clinton’s legal advisor during her presidential campaign. Elias and his team played a crucial role in challenging numerous lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump in an attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Introducing the Elias Law Group.

The elevation of Janet Protasiewicz, a Democrat, to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin could potentially bring about a significant shift in the ideological balance. However, this high-profile win did not generate as many headlines outside of New York, where she is from. Janet Protasiewicz’s predecessor, Judge Rowan Wilson, who generally leans more liberal than his predecessor, Chief Judge DiFiore, was in the minority last year when the court voted against the pro-Democrat map. In April, the state legislature approved the appointment of Chief Judge Wilson, an appellate judge who is more liberal than his predecessor, knocking down Hochul’s favor. Despite this, Democrats in the state are banking on the result of the current round, with the likelihood of the whole thing eventually returning to New York’s appellate court, the highest body in the judiciary, if even Elias Branch and the win.

Districts could be drawn more equitably, which would be even better. Attention is starting to be given to this issue. Gerrymandering is no longer just a political backroom thing. More people are paying attention to it because of good news coverage, software mapping, and social media. The project “Redistricting New York” has contributed to transparency. Steve Romalewski says that there may be a silver lining in all of this. We are living in a golden age of gerrymandering, thanks to easy access to data, polarization, and shamelessness. It all started a long time ago when Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts signed a bill legalizing a Boston-area district that was shaped like a mythological salamander. This was an attempt to carve out electoral districts for partisan advantage.