As a Leon County judge finalized the dates for a hearing on a third draft of Florida’s congressional districts, a key lawmaker Monday refused to rule out the possibility of continuing the legal fight over the map, this time in federal court. Meanwhile, attorneys for the Legislature and critics of the 2012 redistricting process declined to discuss whether settlement talks were underway in a separate case dealing with a state Senate map that opponents also say was tainted by political considerations. The legal maneuvering came in the wake of a Florida Supreme Court decision July 9 that struck down eight of Florida’s 27 congressional districts and called for wide-ranging changes to some of them. One of the most dramatic shifts is likely to be switching the district of Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown from a north-south configuration that runs from Jacksonville to Orlando to an east-west arrangement that runs from Jacksonville to Tallahassee.
Brown has suggested that an east-west district could violate the federal Voting Rights Act because it would diminish the opportunity for black voters to elect a candidate of their choice, something fiercely denied by opponents of the current map.
Senate Reapportionment Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said the Legislature’s decision to move forward with an August special session to redraw the congressional map would not preclude someone challenging the Florida court’s decision.
Full Article: Legal maneuvers continue in redistricting cases.