On Wednesday, the New Mexico Supreme Court allowed the Republican Party of New Mexico’s (RPNM) challenge to gerrymandered maps drawn in 2021 to proceed, according to multiple reports.
RPNM is suing after Democrats rammed through extreme partisan gerrymandered maps last December that shifted the congressional map extremely in their favor. In the Second Congressional District, represented by GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell, the gerrymandering swung the seat from favoring Republicans by 14 points to now favoring Democrats by four points, according to FiveThirtyEight. That made Democrat Gabe Vasquez narrowly win the seat in the November 8 election.
The lawsuit claims Democrats illegally designed the new map to damage the reelection chances of the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, which now has proven to be an accurate assertion following the November 8 General Election.
The “drafters intentionally ‘cracked’ Republicans in southeastern New Mexico, thereby substantially diluting their votes,” the lawsuit alleges, adding that Democrats intentionally split communities of interest for political gain.
The Democrat-drawn map, which was originally made by the dark money George Soros-funded group the “Center for Civic Policy” (CCP), achieved the partisan gerrymander by plunging the Democrat-dominated South Valley of Albuquerque into the Second District while putting more conservative areas such as Hobbs and Roswell in the First and Third Congressional Districts.
In April, District Judge Fred Van Soelen of Clovis ruled it was too late to hear the case due to the approaching June 7, 2022, primary election. That has sent it to the state Supreme Court, which has taken the case. All five members of New Mexico’s fully Democrat Supreme Court either have been supported by Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who signed the maps into law, or were appointed by the governor.
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Roswell’s Democrat Mayor Tim Jennings, State Sen. David Gallegos (R-Eunice), and a group of Republican voters.
The Democrats’ attorney, Holly Agajanian, representing Lujan Grisham, argued strangely against democracy while arguing in front of the Court. She said, “Just because something is considered anti-democratic doesn’t mean the court has to step in. And I know that doesn’t feel right based on what everything we think justice is. It feels funny for me to say that. But at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that’s the case. Because in our system of government… These anti-democratic effects we see can only be remedied through the legislature.”
Attorney for the plaintiffs, Daniel J. Gallegos, argued the maps drawn by the Democrat legislature are a “violation of the state’s equal protection clause,” citing the Legislature throwing out all the maps proposed by the Citizens Redistricting Committee and instead drawing their own hyper-partisan map.
The state Supreme Court ruling read that “that the verified petition for writ of superintending control is GRANTED with respect to Petitioners’ request that this Court provide the district court guidance for resolving a partisan gerrymandering claim” and that “the district court shall take all actions necessary to resolve this matter no later than October 1, 2023.”
In a writ of superintending control, the Court wrote, “a petition for writ of superintending control having been granted by this Court on July 5, 2023, and the Court being sufficiently informed and good cause appearing for the issuance of a writ of superintending control; NOW THEREFORE, you, Hon. Fred Van Soelen, are ordered to proceed in D-506-CV-2022-00041 in accordance with the order issued contemporaneously with this writ.”