Who's in Charge, the People or the Politicians?

State lawmakers are trying to derail a constitutional amendment that would limit their power to redraw political boundaries for the Legislature and the Florida Congressional Delegation.

Common Cause and other good government groups gathered enough signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot that creates an independent commission to handle reapportionment.

Attorney Mark Herron went before the Florida Supreme Court Thursday to defend that amendment.

“The people who, who signed these petitions want to take partisanship out of the process, they want a commission to do it as opposed to the Legislature.”

But Tallahassee Attorney Barry Richard told the high court the amendment is deceptive and misleading. He had a problem with the use of the word “nonpartisan” in the constitutional amendment.

“It has always meant one thing and only one thing, and that means that in the selection process, wherever it may be, parties and party affiliation plays no role.”

Justice Raoul Cantero questioned Barry Richard.

“So does that make this court a partisan body?”

“You may not want to answer that question.”

You may remember Barry Richard from the 2000 recount debacle. He was the mouthpiece for the George Bush legal team in Tallahassee.

The court gave no indication when it will rule on the challenge to the reapportionment amendment, but backers already have more than enough signatures to win a space on the November ballot.


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