As the battle over Florida’s political boundaries looms, the Florida Supreme Court is set to make a decision on the disputed congressional districts. A ruling could come as soon as Thursday. A trial on state Senate districts that lawmakers drew in 2012 is set to be heard by Circuit Judge George Reynolds beginning Sept. 25. But in a flurry of briefs and arguments filed in recent weeks, the Legislature and a coalition of voting-rights groups and citizens have laid out many of the arguments that Reynolds will hear in the high-stakes trial. The opponents of the Senate map, led by the League of Women Voters of Florida, have specifically challenged 28 of the 40 districts that lawmakers crafted during the once-a-decade redistricting process that follows every Census. The 2012 process, though, was the first to fall under the state’s anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments, which were approved by voters two years earlier.
Critics of the map also say that the entire plan was corrupted by Republican political operatives, who managed to use a public submission process to get their plans in front of redistricting committees controlled by the GOP.
“The Senate Reapportionment Committee did not draw the redistricting plan in public,” says a complaint filed by those who want the map thrown out. “Staff or others drew it privately at the direction of the Senate leadership, who, upon information and belief, were collaborating with Republican partisan operatives, with the intent to favor incumbents and to advantage the political party of those Senate leaders.”
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