Florida District Lines in Limbo as Court Ruling Awaited
The Florida State Supreme Court heard arguments over a new congressional map on Tuesday, but has yet to make a final decision on what the lines for the Sunshine State’s 27 House districts will look like.
The oral arguments were the final step before the state Supreme Court rules in a years-long litigious battle over the district lines. Whatever map the court ultimately chooses will likely be used for the 2016 elections.
During the Tuesday arguments, most of the discussion focused on the Miami-based 26th District, according to The Associated Press. Under the new map, the seat would become more Democratic, imperiling freshman GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo.
The state Supreme Court tossed out the map drawn for the 2012 cycle in July, ruling it violated the state’s Fair Districts amendment — a ballot-passed measure that sought to lessen partisan gerrymandering.
But after the state legislature could not reach an agreement for a redrawn map, the decision now rests in the hands of the state Supreme Court to decide.
Most likely to change is the state’s 5th District — a majority-black seat which currently runs north to south in a snakelike shape from Jacksonville to Orlando. In the judge-recommended plan, the district would run from east to west along the state’s northern border with Georgia, and still keep its black-majority advantage.
Rep. Corrine Brown, who currently holds the seat, charges that the new iteration of her district would disenfranchise African-American voters, who are protected by the Voting Rights Act, and said she plans to take that argument to the U.S. Supreme Court. But multiple redistricting experts say her arguments are unlikely to prevail, given that the new district would still favor a black candidate.
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