The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that eight of the state’s 27 congressional maps must be redrawn by the GOP-led state legislature, a decision that will impact a number of nationally watched House seats in the 2016 election cycle. The 5-2 decision says lawmakers only need to redraw the eight impacted seats, half of which are in South Florida — but because that will impact neighboring districts, the changes will send ripple effects across the state.
The court ruled that the maps were at odds with anti-gerrymandering amendments to the state constitution passed by voters in 2010. Those changes no longer allowed the Legislature to use the redistricting process to favor political parties or incumbents.
“With the voters’ approval of the Fair Districts Amendment, that unfortunate fact of political life was banned in Florida,” read the majority opinion, which was penned by Justice Barbara Pariente, who was appointed by then-Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles.