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New York — Magistrate judge's report & recommendation on redistricting (March 12, 2012)

New York — Magistrate judge's report & recommendation on redistricting (March 12, 2012)

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Published by: Daily Kos Elections on Mar 13, 2012
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK---------------------------------------------------------------xMARK A. FAVORS, et al.,Plaintiffs,REPORT ANDRECOMMENDATION-against-11-CV-5632 (DLI)(RR)(GEL)ANDREW M. CUOMO
as Governor of the State of New York,et al.
Defendants.---------------------------------------------------------------xROANNE L. MANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE:
Faced yet again with a dysfunctional state legislature, the federal judiciary in New York must now undertake the “unwelcome obligation” of creating a plan redrawing the State’selectoral districts for the United States Congress. Perry v. Perez, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct.934, 940 (2012) (quoting Connor v. Finch, 431 U.S. 407, 415 (1977)). The legislature’sabdication of its responsibility, and the need for judicial intervention, have become an all-too-familiar scenario in New York. In 1992, a three-judge court in this district, burdened with thesame task, made the following observation:Ten years ago, legislative delay required a federal court’sintervention to protect the people of the State of New York, andthe same has happened this decade. We can only hope that thecensus of 2000 will not give birth to yet another judicialredistricting drama in 2002.Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, Inc. v. Gantt, 796 F.Supp. 681, 696 (E.D.N.Y.1992) (“PRLDEF”) (three-judge court) (citing Flateau v. Anderson, 537 F.Supp. 257
(S.D.N.Y.) (three-judge court) (per curiam), appeal dismissed, 458 U.S. 1123 (1982)).Unfortunately, the Court’s hope in PRLDEF would not be realized: the Census of 2000 did in fact give birth to yet another redistricting drama, see Rodriguez v. Pataki, No. 02Civ. 618(RMB), 2002 WL 1058054 (S.D.N.Y. May 24, 2002) (“Rodriguez I”) (three-judgecourt) -- as did the Census of 2010, which produced the legislative stalemate that now threatensto disenfranchise New Yorkers and brings the parties before this Court.As a result of the 2010 Census, the number of congressional districts allotted to NewYork State was reduced from 29 to 27. The purpose of this Report and Recommendation is to present to the Three-Judge Panel presiding in this case the 27-district congressionalredistricting plan (the “Recommended Plan”) formulated by the undersigned magistrate judgewith the assistance of its redistricting consultant, Dr. Nathaniel Persily. Dr. Persily’s affidavit and attachments (collectively referred to as “Persily Affidavit” or “Persily Aff.”) accompanythis opinion and are incorporated by reference herein. As detailed in the discussion that follows, and in the Persily Affidavit, the Recommended Plan complies with all constitutionaland statutory requirements, as well as with the terms of the Three-Judge Panel’s ordercharging this Court with the duty to prepare and propose a congressional redistricting plan forthe State of New York. Furthermore, whatever its effects on the political process, theRecommended Plan was prepared according to neutral principles, pursuant to a process aimedat ensuring both the reality and appearance of judicial impartiality.
BACKGROUNDI.The Instant Action
On November 17, 2011, plaintiffs Mark A. Favors, Howard Leib, Lillie H. Galan,Edward A. Mulraine, Warren Schreiber, and Weyman A. Carey (“Plaintiffs”), registeredvoters in the State of New York, filed the instant voting rights action against defendantsAndrew M. Cuomo, as Governor of the State of New York; Eric T. Schneiderman, asAttorney General of the State of New York; Robert J. Duffy (Lieutenant Governor of the
State of New York), as President of the New York State Senate; Dean G. Skelos, as MajorityLeader and President Pro Tempore of the New York State Senate; John L. Sampson, asMinority Leader of the New York State Senate; Sheldon Silver, as Majority Leader of the NewYork State Assembly; Brian M. Kolb, as Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly;the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (“LATFOR”); and the six members of LATFOR: Assemblyman John J. McEneny,
Assemblyman Robert Oaks, Dr. Roman Hedges, State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, StateSenator Martin Malavé Dilan, and Welquis R. Lopez (collectively, “Defendants”). See
Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed all claims against the Attorney General on December 28,
2011, see Plaintiffs’ Notice of Voluntarily Dismissal (Dec. 28, 2011), Electronic Case Filing(“ECF”) Docket Entry (“DE”) #40, and the dismissal was granted on January 10, 2012. SeeOrder (Jan. 10, 2012).LATFOR is comprised of two members of the New York State Senate, two members of the
New York State Assembly, and two appointed non-legislators, one selected by the President Pro Tempore of the State Senate and one selected by the Speaker of the State Assembly. SeeMemorandum and Order (Mar. 8, 2012) (“3/8/12 M&O”) at 4, DE #219.For ease of reference: (1) Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Duffy will be referred to as
the “Governor Defendants”; (2) State Senator Skelos and LATFOR members Nozzolio and

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