Florida Supreme Court Justices Reject Senate Redistricting Plan

Associated Press (AP) -- The Florida Supreme Court rejected the state Senate's redistricting plan for the next 10 years but upheld the House's map in a 5-2 opinion issued Friday.
The two dissenting justices said they would have upheld both maps drafted by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
The court said eight Senate districts are unconstitutional as well as the chamber's changes in assigning numbers to districts because that favors certain incumbents.
The ruling sends the Senate map back to the Legislature so it can be redrawn to conform with the high court's interpretation of a new state constitutional amendment designed to curtail gerrymandering.
Democrats, three nonpartisan groups that backed the Fair Districts amendment and one like it for congressional seats alleged the legislative maps violated the new restrictions including a ban on intentionally drawing districts to favor or disfavor incumbents and political parties.
The plan's opponents alleged the maps would let the GOP maintain two-to-one majorities in both the House and Senate although Florida's voter registration and voting patterns are almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.
The amendments also protect minority voting rights and require that maps be compact and follow political or geographic boundaries whenever feasible.
Lawyers for the Legislature argued that both maps fully complied with the amendment and urged the justices to conduct only a limited review while allowing opponents to challenge specifics at the trial court level. The majority rejected that argument.
Democrats and the three Fair Districts groups -- the Florida League of Women Voters, National Council of La Raza and Common Cause -- already have filed separate Circuit Court lawsuits in Tallahassee challenging the congressional map, which does not get an automatic Supreme Court review. No hearings have yet been set in those cases.
Republicans currently have a 19-6 edge in Florida's congressional delegation. The new map adds two more seats due to population growth for a total of 27.
The GOP also has majorities of 28-12 in the Senate and 81-38 in the House with one district vacant due to the recent resignation of Democratic former Rep. Paul Steinberg of Miami Beach after he admitted sending suggestive and harassing text messages to a female federal prosecutor.
The high court had 30 days through Sunday to complete its review after Attorney General Pam Bondi submitted the plan on Feb. 10.
AP-WF-03-09-12 1538GMT

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by AF Vet Location: Bay on Mar 10, 2012 at 08:11 AM
    Wow, looks like everything this governor and the legislators are doing in Florida is illegal. What did you expect when you elected a man that stole a billion dollars of your money in his last job. Hard to believe these guys call themselves constitutionalist, when they continue to try and break contracts and rig voting in their favor. Shame on them!
  • by Dave Location: pcb on Mar 9, 2012 at 12:48 PM
    Did you really expect the reds not to try to stick it to the blues. These guys are so busy trying to cheat that our country is going down the drain. What we want is "fair" but will never get it from these jerks. Fire them all!
8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 142071103 - wjhg.com/a?a=142071103
Gray Television, Inc.