ALBANY – The New York State Court of Appeals has upheld the Republican-backed addition of a 63rd seat to the state Senate leaving Senate Democrats — who opposed the plan because they believe Republican’s Senate-size calculations were unconstitutional — with little hope of having the seat nullified before the fall elections.
Senate Democrats argue the 63rd seat was created solely for political purposes. They point to its placement in upstate New York as evidence that the extra seat was partisan, saying upstate is already mathematically overrepresented in the Senate so if an additional seat was created, it would logically be located in the more democratically favored New York City area.
However, the court case was not an argument of purpose, but of methods. Senate Democrats challenged the way Republicans used constitutional formulas to determine the necessary number of Senate seats. Democrats argued by combining two different accepted seat-counting methods, Senate Republicans were in violation of the law. Last week the court, however, gave the Legislature leeway in methodology and ruled in favor of the reapportionment plan and, as a result, the establishment of the 63rd district.