An ex-lawmaker critiques a judge-drawn redistricting map and his former colleagues | Capital New York


Azi Paybarah, a senior writer at Capital New York, opened his Morning Briefing column with my NY Post Op-Ed critiquing a federal magistrate judge’s congressional redistricting plan.

Michael Benjamin has a detailed critique of the congressional lines drawn by a federal judge, contending, for example, that Howard Beach and Bed-Stuy shouldn’t be in the same district.

But Benjamin, while acknowledging no map will be perfect, urges readers to direct their ire at the lawmakers who failed to agree on a map and, in essence, forced a judge to step in and draw a map for them.

It should be said that Benjamin, a former legislator, is not a reformer when it comes to independent redistricting, or is at least a skeptic of the idea that government can be substantially improved by taking control of the process out of the hands of lawmakers.

Using logic reminiscent of Mario Cuomo, a reform advocate who nevertheless signed into law gerrymandered lines on the premise that they were preferable to lines drawn by the courts, Benjamin laments that the judge is “unelected” and therefore accountable for mistakes in the map he or she draws.

As Ken Lovett notes, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who previously advocated an independent redistricting process, failed to articulate specific objections to the judge’s lines. The governor told reporters he’d veto Assembly and State Senate lines if they are “hyper political.” But when asked what lines would meet that negative qualification, Cuomo simply said, Potter Stewart-like, that he’ll know it when he sees it.

See complete Morning Briefing at: An ex-lawmaker critiques a judge-drawn redistricting map and his former colleagues | Capital New York.

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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