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Judge blocks order halting new Nassau lines

In the back-and-forth legal battle over Nassau redistricting, a state appellate judge Monday blocked a lower court order that prevented new district lines from being used this November.

Before issuing a stay, however, Associate Justice Ruth Balkin of the 2nd Appellate Division emphasized to lawyers in her Mineola chambers that she was not deciding the facts of the case.

Instead, she ordered both sides to present arguments by 5 p.m. Tuesday and predicted a full appellate panel will be convened by Thursday, Friday or Monday of next week. "The bench will be dealing with this in a very expeditious manner," she said. "I am not really in a position . . . to decide the merits of the issue."

Acting Supreme Court Justice Steven Jaeger last week found that Republicans who control Nassau government had not complied with the county charter when they hastily redrew the 19 legislative districts after the April release of the new U.S. census. Democrats challenged the reapportionment, which put four Democratic lawmakers into two districts and separated some minority communities.

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