Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 20 May 2011 00:00
Many residents at the May 9 legislative redistricting hearing stated that the Republican-controlled county legislature was moving ahead with the proposed redistricting plan far too quickly; apparently, they were not alone in that view.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Steven M. Jaeger issued a temporary restraining order against the county legislature on May 12, barring them from implementing the plan until the next court hearing on Thursday, May 26; originally, the item was set to go to a vote on Monday, May 16.
Minority Leader Diane Yatauro and the rest of the Democratic legislators filed suit against County Executive Edward Mangano, Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt and the rest of the Republican legislators on Tuesday, May 10. With this injunction, the Republican majority is prevented from enacting new district lines until the court has the opportunity to hear more arguments from both sides of the aisle.
“We are pleased with today’s decision,” said Yatauro. “We remain confident that the court will ultimately rule that this illegal redistricting should not move forward.”
Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth, 10th District, representing Great Neck, stated: “I am encouraged by the New York State Supreme Court Justice who has issued an injunction so that Mr. Schmitt and the Republican caucus cannot proceed with their arbitrary and capricious effort to redistrict Nassau County. If the only way to protect the voters of Nassau County is by bringing this issue to the Courts, that is just what the Democratic caucus will do.”
Majority Leader Peter J. Schmitt said that there are 10,000 more people in Legislative District #2 (LD 2) than in any other district, which is why the legislature acted as it did. “If we go into the next election with LD 2 as it is then people from that district will bring a lawsuit,” he said. Schmitt said that his office is reviewing the decision and that the Nassau County Attorney is preparing amendments to the earlier redistricting bill that will address what he termed as “legitimate concerns.”
While the redistricting plan has not been taken off the table altogether, it is now far less likely that the new district lines will affect this year’s election. With this delay, even if the court rules in the Republicans’ favor on May 26, the new lines probably will not be approved and implemented before June 7, the date that political candidates’ petitions must be sent out.