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Federal Court Approves Congressional Redistricting Plan

New York City, NY – As expected, a federal court in Manhattan approved a statewide congressional redistricting plan Thursday that essentially merges the districts of Republican Jack Quinn of Hamburg and Democrat John LaFalce of Tonawanda.

The court did say it would consider an alternative to its plan if the state legislature can come up with one that is “appropriate and lawful.”

Legislative leaders in Albany appeared ready to do that after the White House intervened. Vice President Dick Cheney called GOP state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on Thursday to voice concerns about the court blueprint.

The three-judge panel heard public comments on the plan earlier this week but rejected the complaints of LaFalce, who said the new district was unfair.

Legislative leaders had been deadlocked on the issue, and Bruno said it looked as though Lacey's plan would be implemented.

But spokesmen for both legislative leaders confirmed they are talking about coming up with their own congressional reapportionment plan. As of late Friday, the spokesmen said no agreements had been reached and probably wouldn't be reached before Tuesday.

If the court-drawn plan becomes final, LaFalce said he would consider two options. The first would be taking on Quinn in a mostly Buffalo area district. The second would see him challenging Republican Tom Reynolds in a newly redrawn district that includes Amherst and Niagara County.

The state's congressional delegation is shrinking from 31 to 29 because of population losses relative to the rest of the country during the 1990s.