Federal Court denies preliminary injunction halting elections (Favors v. Cuomo)


Politicker reports that the Last Lawsuit Against Redistricting Stumbles as a judge denied a Democratic request for a preliminary injunction against the redrawn map, which means that there won’t be enough time now for the trial to intervene before primary season begins for the State Senate and State Assembly elections this year.

On May 16, the three-judge panel hearing the Favors v. Cuomo redistricting case denied preliminary injunctive relief citing the Drayton plaintiff-intervenors inability to show “a likelihood of success on the merits” and given the narrow time-frame to affect the upcoming elections.

The greatest public interest must attach to adjudicating these claims fairly—and correctly.

We have little confidence that a few weeks of discovery and an abbreviated trial leaves enough time for the parties to marshal all the relevant facts and make their best arguments.

We cannot ignore that the primary election process begins in less than four weeks…

Additionally, the Court ruled that to win on the merits, they must show that a minority group is

(1) ” sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district,” (2) “politically cohesive,” and (3) the majority votes “sufficiently as a bloc to enable it . . . usually to defeat the minority’s preferred candidate.” Id.; accord Bartlett v. Strickland, 556 U.S. 1, 11–12 (2009). But the movants have introduced virtually no evidence on these factors, which typically require substantial expert testimony and analysis. [Rodriguez v. Pataki, 308 F. Supp. 2d at 387–404]

The Court also denied the Breitbart Intervenors motion to intervene saying that they failed to show how their intervention would assist in resolving the case. The Court cited that Todd Brietbart had brought his perspective as a witness for the Senate Minority thus making his motion to intervene unnecessary.

But the Court did grant the motion to dismiss the Ullmann Intervenor complaint which alternately claimed that the Senate and Assembly plans illegally discriminated against the Chasidic community in the Village of Ramapo because they were Jews and they did not support the election of incumbent Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe. The Court ruled that Ullmann did not provide an Equal Protection Clause argument. The Court also declined to rule on whether the division of Ramapo into multiple Assembly districts violates the state constitution.

Legal arguments against the lines based on population variances and other issues will continue, but any impact they have will be on future elections [h/t Politicker].

Read the opinions denying motions to dismiss and opinion denying preliminary injunction here.

See Loyola Law School Professor Justin Leavitt’s up-to-date guide to drawing electoral lines, All About Redistricting for a complete summary of redistricting in New York and elsewhere.

This post was updated to include the Politicker article/link and to clarify the Court’s action on the impending elections.

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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