Thursday, December 3, 2015

Florida Supreme Court picks congressional district map

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 2:17 PM

  • Photo via Florida Supreme Court
After months of political fights and district drama, Florida finally has a new congressional districts map.

In a 5-2 decision, the Florida Supreme Court voted to approve the map created by a group of plaintiffs, including Common Cause Florida and the League of Women Voters of Florida, who filed a lawsuit in 2012 alleging the maps were gerrymandered to favor Republicans and incumbents.

“Our opinion today—the eighth concerning legislative or congressional apportionment during this decade since the adoption of the landmark Fair Districts Amendment—should bring much needed finality to litigation concerning this state’s congressional redistricting that has now spanned nearly four years in state courts,’’ the court wrote in its opinion brief.

The Florida Legislature was forced to redraw the districts after the court supported the plaintiffs, but the Florida House and Senate could not agree on a map in a special redistricting session. Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis examined the maps submitted by the Legislature and the plaintiffs, and ultimately recommended to the Florida Supreme Court one of the maps drawn by the plaintiffs.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the new map could see some legal challenges.

“U.S. Reps. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, and Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, have already threatened a lawsuit for restricting the ability of their constituents to elect minorities to office,” the Times says.

Brown’s district, which extends like a snake from North Florida to Central Florida, picking up African American voters on the way, will now just remain in North Florida. U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, currently represents District 10, which now leans Democrat. Webster has complained in the past that redistricting could threaten his incumbency. As we wrote here, the plaintiff’s drawing of Central Florida’s District 9 is similar to the House drawing, which dilutes the Osceola/Orange County Latino vote by adding in more white constituents from Polk County.  

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