Lawsuit Against 63rd Senate Seat Dismissed; Democrats Vow to Appeal

One of the new districts.

The Senate Democrats lost their initial court battle against the Republicans’ redistricting plan where they had argued the map unconstitutionally increased the size of the State Senate to 63 seats by using two different counting methods in different parts of the state.

“Although this court finds disturbing the Legislature’s use of one method for Queens and Nassau Counties and a different method for Richmond and Suffolk Counties, petitioners have not sustained their heavy burden of demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that the Legislature has acted unconstitutionally,” the ruling read at a key moment.

The court concluded, “Accordingly, by this court’s separate decision, order, and judgment, dated April12, 2012, the petition has been denied, and this court has declared that the formula prescribed in … the New York Constitution does not forbid New York from increasing the size of the New York State Senate to 63 seats in 2012.”

However, Democrats have vowed to appeal the decision to a higher court and hope a different conclusion is reached.

“We will be appealing today’s ruling,” Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats, said in a statement. “We agree with the court’s assessment that the Senate Republican’s use of two different redistricting counting methods is disturbing and we are confident that the Court of Appeals will see through this blatant, unconstitutional power grab by the Republican Majority.”

While they might now have an uphill legal battle to ultimately get the 63rd seat ruled unconstitutional, should the Democrats be successful, it could potentially shake things up as not only would a district be eliminated, but every single district would have to change to adjust to a new population requirement.

Then, of course, there would be the drama of passing the plan again through both chambers of the Legislature and, as happened with the congressional maps, a possible court intervention should things delay too much.

On to the next case.

Here’s the ruling, courtesy of Capital Tonight:

Lawsuit Against 63rd Senate Seat Dismissed; Democrats Vow to Appeal