This week, the fully Democrat New Mexico Supreme Court dealt Democrats a shocking blow when it denied Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s appeal for the high court to strike a bipartisan lawsuit challenging the state’s extremely partisan congressional district gerrymander. That means the case can now be heard at the state district court level.
In 2021, the Democrats in the New Mexico Legislature rammed through maps that cut communities of interest in halves or thirds while creating snake-like districts that are clear of a partisan gerrymander.
During the process, the Democrats gerrymandered the Second Congressional District, which swung the seat from favoring Republicans by 14 points to now favoring Democrats by four points, resulting in New Mexico’s only Republican congresswoman, Yvette Herrell, losing to far-left Democrat Gabe Vasquez, in 2022.
The nonprofit group that was heavily involved in the redistricting process, which the Democrat legislature subverted, Fair Districts New Mexico, applauded the state Supreme Court on its move.
“Some people are declaring yesterday’s decision a victory for New Mexico Republicans, who are challenging in court the state’s redrawn congressional map,” said Hannah Burling co-President of the League of Women Voters of New Mexico and Project Leader of Fair Districts for New Mexico. “But no one knows what the final decision on that question will be. Instead, yesterday’s decision is a victory for voters who believe the courts can – and must – protect voters’ constitutional rights by considering cases alleging partisan gerrymandering.”
Heather Balas, Vice President of the Election Reformers Network, said, “New Mexico’s court rightly joins a growing number of other state supreme courts in holding what the U.S. Supreme Court once recognized and what every voter knows to be true: that extreme partisan gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles and causes constitutional harms. Such cases must be at least heard.”
Mason Graham, Policy Director for Common Cause New Mexico noted that New Mexicans deserve a fair and transparent process for redistricting. “This process was flawed from the outset. When elected officials from either party meet in secret to manipulate maps and protect their political power, voters lose faith in our institutions and in democracy itself. In that way, gerrymandering harms us all. Ensuring the courts retain the power to protect the interests of voters is an essential safeguard.”
“As New Mexicans we are proud that on the day following Independence Day, the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed the balance of power enshrined in our state constitution and respected by the U.S. Constitution. This is not a win for any political party; this is a victory for all New Mexicans.”
The support for sending the case to the lower court to determine the case and the condemnation from all sides of the extreme partisan gerrymander by the New Mexico Democrats in the majority at the Legislature is a testament to the bipartisan groups and officials, such as Democrat Roswell Mayor Tim Jennings, in supporting fair districts.