A day after the Supreme Court heard arguments in a Texas redistricting battle, another redistricting case with potential national implications takes center stage, this time in Florida. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will hear a challenge in a racially-charged lawsuit over an amendment to Florida’s constitution. Lawmakers have sued to try to block the amendment — passed by voter ballot in 2010 — which they say violates the U.S. Constitution because it strips the legislature of its right to regulate elections.
An African-American Democrat and a Hispanic Republican, joined by Florida’s House of Representatives, sued Florida in 2010, arguing that the so-called Fair Districts amendment dilutes the voting power of minorities. They also say it violates the Elections Clause of the Constitution, which gives state legislatures the power to regulate the time, place and manner of congressional elections.
The Florida issues echo, but differ, from those in the Texas fight, which the Supreme Court justices will decide by the end of this term. In Texas, the dispute involves challenges under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, particularly a requirement that states with a history of discrimination obtain court approval for redistricting plans. The case centers on maps drawn up by a San Antonio federal court, which Republican state officials say went too far and should have deferred to maps approved by the Republican-controlled state legislature.
Full Article: Court to tackle Florida redistricting suit.