There’s a court hearing Thursday on a challenge to Florida’s new Congressional district maps

Florida redistricting
Redrawn Congressional districts proposed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in April, 2022.

On Thursday morning a judge will hear a lawsuit challenging new congressional districts approved last year by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis.

The current map became official after DeSantis vetoed new district lines that had been passed by the Legislature based on updated population numbers from the 2020 census.

The new map re-drew a north Florida district so that it no longer includes a majority of Black voters.

Stetson University College of Law professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy thinks a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ordering Alabama to re-draw its Congressional districts could mean that Florida might face a similar fate.

“Florida, I think, was counting on Alabama to win that case. And they didn’t.

“It was, I think, a pleasant surprise for voting rights advocates.

“But the Supreme Court both upheld the Voting Rights Act — again — and said that Alabama had violated it by having only one majority-minority district instead of two.

“In Florida, there were a lot of what I would call shenanigans around the map that was created after the 2020 census.

“So there are, I think, strong arguments that it violated the Florida constitution under the fair maps provision of the Florida constitution.

“And then I think they’re also really strong arguments that the Florida maps violate the Voting Rights Act too, in the same way that the Alabama map was just found to violate the Voting Rights Act.

“So I think that loss by Alabama, the Supreme Court could have huge reverberations for maps in Florida, because it, it keeps a door open for litigators to make an argument that what Florida did with that post-2020 map was not legally appropriate.”

The hearing on a challenge to Florida’s Congressional map is scheduled for Thursday at 9:00 a.m. in Leon County Circuit Court.

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