Saying “time is of the essence,” attorneys for both sides want the 1st District Court of Appeal to rule in a congressional redistricting fight by Nov. 22.
Attorneys for the state and voting-rights groups Wednesday filed a proposed timeline after the Tallahassee-based appeals court said Monday it would take up the case.
The parties had sought to effectively bypass the appeals court and go straight to the Florida Supreme Court, but Monday’s order rejected that idea.
The appeals court will hold what is known as an “en banc” hearing of the full court, rather than using the typical process of a three-judge panel hearing arguments.
In Wednesday’s filing, the attorneys said they want to get a resolution of the case in time for lawmakers to pass a new redistricting plan, if necessary, during the legislative session that will start in January.
“A ruling by November 22 will also provide time for either party to seek Florida Supreme Court review and for the Florida Supreme Court to render a decision in time for the Legislature to take up any remedial plan, if necessary, during the 2024 regular legislative session, and before the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment on March 8, 2024,” the filing said.
Also, the attorneys urged the appeals court to rule based on briefs, rather than holding oral arguments, to “help expedite the decisional process.”
The case went to the appeals court after Leon County Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh ruled Sept. 2 that the redistricting plan, pushed through the Legislature last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis, violated the Florida Constitution. The case centers on a North Florida district that in the past elected Black Democrat Al Lawson but was overhauled in the redistricting process. White Republicans won all North Florida congressional districts in the November elections. A qualifying period for 2024 congressional candidates will be held in April.
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