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Judge Rules Against Redistricting Nassau County Legislature Until 2013

On Friday, July 22, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Steven Jaeger ruled against the plan by the Republican-controlled Nassau County Legislature to redistrict the Legislature for the 2011 elections. The judge said that, according to the Nassau County Charter, the redistricting must wait two more years.

The plan to redistrict the county’s 19 legislative districts was voted on and passed in the Legislature on May 24, along party lines, and the Democrats, in turn, filed a lawsuit against the plan. Presently, the Republicans hold an 11-8 majority in the Legislature.

The Republicans claimed the redrawing of district lines for the 2011 election was legally required of the Legislature within eight months of the release of the new U.S. Census on April 1. The Democrats said the attempt was purely political, that the new lines were drawn to favor Republicans in an election and weaken minority districts.

Judge Jaeger stated in his decision, “The Court concludes that there is no basis in the Nassau County Charter itself, the legislative intent, the legislative history, or the established past practice of the Legislature to immediately adjust the 19 County legislative districts for the 2011 general election.” He wrote that the Charter calls for “one 3-step redistricting process to take place over the course of many months for implementation in 2013.”

Democratic Minority Leader of the Legislature Diane Yatauro stated, “I am so thrilled that Judge Jaeger rendered a strong opinion which confirms that the Republican County Legislature’s premature redistricting attempt was poorly timed and wrong.”

Republican Majority Leader Peter Schmitt stated, “We are pleased that the new district lines and process have been validated by the court, but will appeal that part of the decision which delays its implementation.”