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In 2014, following passage in two successive legislatures, New York voters ratified amendments to the state constitution to change both the process and substantive rules governing the decennial redistricting of the state’s legislature and congressional delegation. The constitution now includes multiple new substantive requirements for districting plans, including a prohibition on the “draw[ing of] [districts] to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.” It also directs the creation of an “Independent Redistricting Commission” (“IRC”) to draw up, for submission to the legislature, maps that, following an extensive process of public input and comment, would comply with the new constitutional requirements. Sadly, the new process employed in the 2022 redistricting was an epic fail. This Essay examines the first test of this new constitutional procedure and contends that the IRC, the state legislature, and the subsequent judicial intervention, all flunked it.


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