A bipartisan group of voters added to the list of redistricting lawsuits this week, filing a case in federal court challenging the Fair Districts amendments of the Florida Constitution as unconstitutional. The group, which includes some Alachua-based Republicans who call themselves the “Conservative Coalition for Free Speech and Association,” is suing Secretary of State Ken Detzner in an attempt to invalidate the anti-gerrymandering amendments approved by voters in 2010. Several members of the Alachua coalition fought the release of their private emails in pending redistricting lawsuits, claiming it violates their First Amendment rights. The court ordered the release of a limited number of those documents, which showed that many of them were political operatives engaged in what the court called a “shadow redistricting” process that aimed to influence the Legislature’s drawing of its maps in a way that favored Republicans.
Meanwhile, the fate of the state’s congressional redistricting maps remained in limbo Friday as legislators and challengers awaited word from the Florida Supreme Court as to how it wants to proceed to resolve the impasse over the congressional redistricting. The Legislature adjourned its special session last week without a final enacted map and the trial court judge assigned to review the map has asked the Supreme Court how to proceed.
Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Bill Galvano told the Times/Herald Friday that he hopes the court gives lawmakers another shot at drawing the districts themselves. On Thursday, Galvano offered a “compromise” map that attempts to appease many of the concerns the House had with the final Senate map. On Friday, House Redistricting Chairman Jose Oliva responded in a letter to House members that the Senate map had promise — but warned it may be too late.