WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state’s congressional map, keeping in place the current map for 2024 and the rest of the redistricting cycle.
The decision comes after Republicans filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s congressional map that was drawn with 2020 census data. The plaintiffs argued that the state’s congressional map was a partisan gerrymander that favors Democrats in violation of the New Mexico Constitution.
Previously, the plaintiffs asked a state trial court to strike down the new map and order the creation of a “partisan-neutral” map, but the trial court denied the plaintiffs’ request to block the map for the 2022 election cycle. The plaintiffs then appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court, which issued its ruling on July 5, 2023, holding that partisan gerrymandering claims are justiciable, or able to be litigated, under the New Mexico Constitution. Specifically, the state Supreme Court answered the question of whether “the New Mexico Constitution provides greater protection than the United States Constitution against partisan gerrymandering” with a firm yes.
After the state supreme court determined that partisan gerrymandering claims were justiciable under the New Mexico Constitution, the case went back to the trial court for the court to determine if the map qualified as an egregious partisan gerrymander.
The trial court determined that while the congressional map does favor Democrats, it did not find that “the disparate treatment of vote dilution rises to the level of an egregious gerrymander.” Therefore, the trial court upheld the map. Republicans appealed to the state supreme court which heard oral arguments on Nov. 20.
Just one week later, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued its decision to affirm the lower court’s decision and uphold the map.