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Holwell Shuster & Goldberg Amicus Briefs Filed on Behalf of League of Women Voters of New York State Lead to Monumental Decision as New York Top Court Rejects Congressional Map


New York—Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP filed two amicus briefs on behalf of the League of Women Voters of New York State that helped secure a landmark decision issued by the New York Court of Appeals invalidating the congressional and state Senate redistricting maps approved by the Legislature as “procedurally unconstitutional.”

The HSG team filed the first brief in the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and the brief was transmitted to the Court of Appeals after the Fourth Department’s decision in the early evening of April 21. HSG filed the second brief, a supplemental letter brief, in the Court of Appeals three days later, meeting the noon Sunday deadline set by the Court.

The opinion, issued by Chief Judge DiFiore on April 27, orders the New York Supreme Court to draw new constitutional maps, and confirms the critical role of the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) as part of the historic reforms of the redistricting process included in the 2014 constitutional amendment that banned gerrymandering.

HSG filed the amicus briefs pro bono on behalf of the League of Women Voters of New York State, an organization that has stood for, among other goals, fair and equitable representation for the people of New York through redistricting of legislative and congressional districts that are untainted by gerrymandering. In its brief, the team advanced numerous arguments in support of the League’s position that when the IRC fails to meet key obligations imposed on it by the amendment, the amendment’s plain language both requires the judiciary, the non-political branch, to adopt new maps, and divests the Legislature of authority to enact its own maps. The Court of Appeals agreed.

The decision by the Court of Appeals ensures that the IRC will play its important and intended role of checking the ability of the Legislature to gerrymander. In addition, the decision could have national implications for control of the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2022 elections.

The HSG team included partners James McGuire, Daniel Sullivan, and Gregory Dubinsky, and associate Daniel Phillips. Read the firm’s supplemental letter brief here.

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