With a Leon County circuit judge ready to hear arguments Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court has rejected a request that could have shed more light on congressional redistricting maps proposed by groups that have waged a long-running legal battle against the Legislature. The Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision Monday, turned down a request from House attorneys to allow additional information-gathering — through a legal process known as discovery — about proposed maps submitted by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause and a group of individual plaintiffs.
In making the request, the House hoped to gather evidence that the proposed maps were influenced by Democratic operatives or by firms linked to the party. Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis on Thursday is scheduled to start a hearing to consider maps proposed by the House, the Senate, the voting-rights groups and the other plaintiffs.
The Supreme Court in July sided with the voting-rights groups and other plaintiffs in the legal battle about whether current congressional districts drawn by the Legislature violated the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” amendments approved by voters in 2010. Lawmakers held a special session in August but could not agree on a new map, which ultimately led to the Supreme Court sending the dispute to Lewis, who will recommend to justices a plan for the state’s 27 congressional districts.