Gerrymander-ender: Judge Mann sets a fast pace for congressional redistricting

Part of a LATFOR district. (latfor.state.ny.us/maps/)
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Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann is, officially, the new special master for New York State's redistricting process.

Mann, a registered Democrat who at least one attorney thinks is a "very smart but humorless jurist," will have the same powers, and the same constraints as the special master who oversaw the process in 2002, according to Jimmy Vielkind of the Times Union.

Mann has set a deadline of Wednesday for submitting congressional maps, and plans to release her own recommendations on March 12, which will then be considered by a three-judge panel in the Eastern District of New York on March 15. She has retained Columbia Law School professor Nathaniel Persily as an adviser.

The appointment comes as Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature have failed to agree on even a draft set of congressional lines. The state must lose two congressional seats this year. For now, the judge's authority extends only to the state's congressional maps, and not to the state Assembly or Senate lines, which have drawn fierce objections from Senate Democrats.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to veto the legislature's lines, though he subsequently said that he would be open to a compromise.