Federal judge refuses to block August congressional primary | Govt. & Political News
WASHINGTON — A federal judge in New York on Wednesday declined to oppose a proposal to move New York’s congressional primaries to Aug. 23, rejecting Democrats’ demand that the primaries be held as originally scheduled for June 28. along district lines that state courts have ruled unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan declined to issue the temporary restraining order Democrats had sought in hopes of keeping the primary in June. The judge’s ruling also makes another remote possibility that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised — holding a statewide congressional primary on June 28 — even more remote.
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Kaplan’s decision was the latest court victory for Republicans, who successfully sued in state court to overturn district lines approved by the state legislature that have forced many Republican voters in the state to only four of the state’s 26 congressional districts.
At a time when candidates were expecting to prepare for a primary on June 28, they instead found themselves unsure of what to do next.
“The DCCC and its leaders continue to learn a hard lesson: The people of New York State passed strong provisions banning partisan gerrymandering in 2014,” said former Rep. John Faso, who led the DCCC. republican effort on the issue of redistricting. “The Democrats have lost in every court case this year. With today’s ruling, they are now 0/4.”
Kaplan’s decision on Wednesday doesn’t end the Democratic trial, but it does allow a Steuben County state court judge and a court-appointed, nonpartisan expert to continue drawing new district lines for the primaries. of August 23.
The federal case will move forward when a three-judge panel, including Kaplan, hears the Democrats’ case in full in the coming weeks. But Kaplan, who was nominated to the bench by Democratic President Bill Clinton, didn’t exactly give Democrats much hope of a successful trial.
“This is a Hail Mary pass, the purpose of which is to try to get the New York primaries to be held on district lines that the state says are unconstitutional,” a Kaplan said, according to a Politico transcript of the hearing.
Democratic voters who filed the case in federal court say the primary cannot be moved to August because a federal judge in the Northern District of New York, in a 2012 ruling on absentee and military voter rights, Congress has ordered that the New York primaries be held on the fourth Tuesday in June.
But it is now likely that the State Board of Elections or the Republican Party will go to this judge and ask him to revise this order to authorize a primary in August.
The next chapter in the state redistricting drama will be written Friday, when Steuben County State Supreme Court Judge Patrick F. McAllister holds a hearing on public proposals for the new district lines. McAllister and the nonpartisan expert he appointed must finalize new congressional lines for the state by May 20.