Earlier today, the courts dropped a small bombshell on New York’s Congressional delegation, releasing a “draft” map for the new set of districts. But what does that mean, and what happens next?
U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann has given a deadline at 9 a.m. tomorrow for any parties to submit comments. She then has until Monday to submit her plan to a three-judge panel. That panel will then hold a hearing for the parties on March 15th and subsequently order a plan into effect.
David Nir, an attorney who now heads the left-leaning Daily Kos Elections blog that closely monitors redistricting developments across the country, said he expected the three-judge panel would adopt the proposed map wholesale.
“In all likelihood, I’d expect the three-judge panel to adopt the magistrate’s final map with few if any changes,” he told The Politicker. “Given the amount of work the magistrate has put into drafting these maps, and her close familiarity with the new lines, I’d be surprised if the three-judge panel chose to second-guess her.”
Over the last 48 hours, New York’s media, including The Politicker, has been breathlessly providing wall-to-wall coverage of the Senate Republicans’ and Assembly Democrats’ redistricting proposals, which were finally released around midnight last night. Candidates have been reacting strongly as well. One boldly declared a path to victory in last night’s maps, while another amazingly announced his intentions to buy a house in the new district.
However, the maps everyone is reacting to are not likely to relate at all to where the ultimate lines will fall.
First of all, even if the maps had any significant legal weight, it would be impossible to predict how the courts would resolve two opposing proposals.
Secondly, and more importantly, the maps have very little legal influence. One redistricting expert told The Politicker the maps are the equivalent of a “John Q. Public” map that literally anyone can submit to the court.
During the course of reporting this week’s cover story on William Boyland Jr., I spent over a month attempting to speak to the allegedly corrupt Assemblyman including sending emails, Facebook messages, multiple calls to his work number and personal cell phone and visits to his office in Albany, his district office in Brownsville and his home in Bedford Stuyvesant. I finally met Mr. Boyland last Saturday night in the lobby of the Hotel Albany where he was on hand for the annual New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus association weekend.
Upon seeing Mr. Boyland, who was handing his young son money to spend in the hotel gift shop, I immediately walked over, whipped out my audio recorder and introduced myself.
“I know who you are, you stopped by my house,” Assemblyman Boyland responded.
Mr. Boyland declined to discuss the pair of corruption trials against him, the bullets fired at his car last August, or the, at last count, 41 lawsuits filed against him by the State Board of Elections for his failure to file required campaign finance disclosures.
“You have a card or something? I’m not going to do any comment now. I’ll reach out when you get home OK?”
Even though I already left a card for Mr. Boyland on my visit to his house, I gave him another one. He never called.
Mr. Boyland didn’t have much to say to me, but his father, William Boyland Sr., who’s better known as Frank, was far more forthcoming.
The past 12 months have not been good for assemblyman William Boyland Jr. In March, he was arrested on federal corruption charges. In July, it was reported he was playing computer games when he should have been in session in Albany. In August, his GMC Yukon was shot at as he drove through his neighborhood of Brownsville—though this last event seems to have been random.
There was moment of hope when Mr. Boyland was acquitted in November. But no sooner had he settled back into life as a free man—nearly three weeks later—than FBI agents arrived at his home, and he was arrested on a second set of corruption charges. According to the indictment, the bureau had him on tape, soliciting bribes.
(He declined to be interviewed.)
Should he be convicted of the charges against him, Mr. Boyland will be the last of a nearly-40-year-long Brooklyn political dynasty.
Proposition 8, the ban that ended California’s brief, four-month-long flirtation with same-sex marriage in 2008, was struck down today by a federal appeals court. The three judge panel of the ninth circuit court ruled 2-1 in favor of overturning the voter-approved measure.
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the ruling.
Law & Order
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a suit today against Bank Of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo for creating and using a private national mortgage electronic registry system called MERS to bring ” foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions.”
“The banks created the MERS system as an end-run around the property recording system, to facilitate the rapid securitization and sale of mortgages,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement about the suit.
Church & State
Assemblyman Nelson Castro sent out a statement yesterday evening urging fellow legislators to support his bill to allow the use of public school buildings for religious meetings and worship. As of February 12, religious organizations will be barred from using school property in New York City. Mr. Castro, who represents the 86th District in The Bronx, described this decision as “discriminatory.”
“This issue is particularly affecting my district and my constituents. It is my responsibility to protect my community,” Mr. Castro said.
Law & Order
The State Senate passed the DNA Databank Expansion Bill yesterday, which would expand New York’s databank to include samples from anyone convicted of a felony or penal law misdemeanor.
Governor Cuomo promptly issued a statement calling the bill “an important step in protecting New Yorkers and modernizing the state’s criminal justice system.”
Before going to Criminal Court this morning, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez drove his daughter to school. As he drove, Councilman Rodriguez told The Politicker he always tries to make time to drive his daughter in the mornings. On November 15, he missed their daily trip because he was in jail after being arrested and charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest during the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park that occurred in the wee hours of that morning.
Today was his first court appearance stemming from that arrest.
Chuck Schumer’s brother-in-law, Kevin McNulty, was nominated to a federal judgeship in New Jersey in a move that left many in the Garden State political establishment scratching their heads.
Georgia police shot and killed a woman who allegedly sent a fake WMD to State Senator Greg Ball.
Museums are collecting memorabilia from the Occupy Wall Street protests.