A federal judge late Monday criticized state lawmakers for dragging their feet on drawing new district lines, calling for the appointment of a “special master” to draw the maps instead.
In a five-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dora Irizarry asked the chief judge of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to tap a three-judge panel to identify a special master, who would “oversee and draw up a redistricting plan that is in compliance with federal and state constitutional and statutory law.”
Irizarry was critical of lawmakers in charge of the redistricting process, saying the state’s compressed election cycle — its federal primary is scheduled for June 26 — is cause for intervention.
The decision sided with the plaintiffs, a coalition of New York voters who filed suit in November. They called for the appointment of a special master, alleging that time had already run too short for lawmakers to draw their own lines.
Draft lines for state Senate and Assembly districts were released last month, while congressional lines have yet to be released. The petitioning period for congressional candidates is currently scheduled to start in mid-March.
It wasn’t immediately clear what impact the decision would have on LATFOR, the legislative task force redrawing lines. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, has vowed to veto any lines not drawn by an independent entity, which would send the maps to court.
Here’s Irizarry’s decision: