All of the parties involved in a legal fight over the shape of the state’s congressional districts have until Monday to submit maps they believe should be used in the looming 2016 elections, a Leon County judge ruled Friday. An order approved by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis lays out the timeline for the latest stage of the courtroom battle, now in its fourth year. The Legislature’s version of the congressional map was thrown out in July by the Florida Supreme Court, which said the plan violated the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” standards approved by voters in 2010. The process for redrawing the map plunged into chaos when lawmakers emerged from a special session last month without a deal on what the state’s 27 U.S. House districts should look like. A hearing held Friday by Lewis followed another Supreme Court ruling last week on how to proceed.
Under the plan, Lewis will hear arguments starting Sept. 24 on what could be as many as four maps. The House and Senate are each expected to submit plans. Also, a coalition of voting-rights organizations and a group of voters that filed lawsuits challenging an initial version of the map drawn by lawmakers in 2012 could each submit a set of districts to Lewis.
Lewis also approved a part of the order that will require anyone submitting a map to spell out in detail who was involved in crafting the plan. The voters who challenged the 2012 map — known as the Romo plaintiffs, whose lawsuit was supported by the Florida Democratic Party — objected to that provision.
Full Article: Judge wants proposed congressional maps by Monday.