ALBANY, NY — April 13, 2012 – A judge has turned down a petition from state Senate Democrats trying to block creation of a 63rd Senate district in New York, according to a decision released Friday.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard Braun wrote that he found it "disturbing" the Republican majority in control of redistricting used two different methods for establishing boundaries in Queens, Staten Island and Nassau and Suffolk counties.
But he says the Democrats didn't establish that the process was unconstitutional.
Braun also dismissed the Democrats' argument that "information was withheld from the public to thwart public comment regarding the plan," noting that redistricting is driven by formulas applied to census data, not public opinion.
Michael Murphy, a Senate Democratic spokesman, said they will appeal the decision.
"We are confident that the Court of Appeals will see through this blatant, unconstitutional power grab by the Republican majority," he said.
Republicans applauded the judge's decision.
"As Senate Republicans had maintained from the beginning, we were required to add a 63rd seat to comply with the Constitution," GOP spokesman Scott Reif said. "We're pleased that the court decided this case in our favor and believe it's time to move on."
The Republicans hold a 32-30 majority in the Senate.
Democrats have a voter enrollment advantage of 2-to-1 in the state.