BROOKLYN, NY – Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) issued the following statement regarding the draft Congressional District maps released by Jonathan Cervas, the Special Master chosen by Judge Patrick McAllister to redraw the maps created by a supermajority vote in the State Legislature.
“The draft map released by a Judicial Overseer in Steuben County and unelected, out-of-town Special Master, both of whom happen to be white men, is part of a vicious national pattern targeting districts represented by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Court blatantly ignores the comprehensive testimony of Brooklyn residents, civic leaders and stakeholders who made clear that the communities of interest that presently constitute the 8th and 9th congressional districts should be kept together, as was the case in maps submitted by good government groups like Common Cause, civil rights groups like the Unity Coalition and even the Independent Redistricting Commission.
This draft map dilutes the Black population in the 8th and 9th congressional districts in a manner wildly inconsistent with the constitutional mandate that communities of color should be put into position to elect the candidate of their choice. The Court, shockingly, uses a sledgehammer to break into pieces the majority Black and historic neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant, once represented by the legendary Shirley Chisholm. The legacy Chisholm district was created in 1968 pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood at its core. Apparently, the Steuben County Court either doesn’t know this history or doesn’t care, notwithstanding voluminous public testimony.
After the 2020 election, the voters of New York State sent seven Black members to the House of Representatives, an all-time high. Right-wing activists, such as the Republican expert who clearly influenced the Court in this matter, have been trying to undo this incredible accomplishment of Black representation ever since.
Apparently, Republican operatives and conservative activists have found a sympathetic audience as a result of the broken process set forth by the New York Court of Appeals. The draft map draws four Black Members of Congress into the same district, a tactic that would make Jim Crow blush.
The right-wing Court in Steuben County has released a map that is unacceptable, unconscionable and unconstitutional.
The Court of Appeals needlessly stripped away the ability of the elected representatives of the New York State legislature to cure any defect it claimed existed. Instead, a flawed process was put into place which has now led to a flawed result. Shame on everyone involved who have brought us to this point.”