In the latest legal face-off over Florida’s invalid congressional map, lawyers wrangled in court on Wednesday over the State Legislature’s newest version. With the state’s primary days away, the judge weighed whether to approve the revised boundaries for seven districts. Lawyers for the coalition of voters’ rights groups that sued the Republican-dominated Legislature over the original boundaries argued that the new map was scarcely different from the old one. They said the judge should reject the new map because it still gave the Republican Party an advantage. “They never tried; they never considered any other alternative because the intent we established at the last trial is alive and well in the Florida Legislature,” David King, the coalition’s lawyer, said in court. He said the Republicans who drew the map tried “to do the least they could possibly do.” If Judge Terry P. Lewis approves the Legislature’s revised map, he must then decide whether to delay the coming elections for those seven districts, possibly until next year, a move that Democrats oppose. Florida’s primary is scheduled for Tuesday.
Judge Lewis ruled Aug. 1 that the original map violated the state’s Constitution because Republicans had gerrymandered the boundaries of two Central Florida districts — the Fifth Congressional District, held by Representative Corrine Brown, a Democrat, and the 10th Congressional District, held by Representative Daniel Webster, a Republican — to benefit their own party. Florida has 27 districts, 17 of them held by Republicans.
This month, the Legislature convened a special session to reconfigure the congressional map to comport with Judge Lewis’s ruling. In his scathing decision, the judge accused Republicans of making a “mockery” of voters’ wishes, approved in 2010, for a fair and transparent redistricting process.
Full Article: Lawyers Spar in Florida Over Newest Voting Map – NYTimes.com.