A key Florida Supreme Court justice sounded skeptical Tuesday about the Legislature’s proposal for a contested South Florida district in a battle over the map for the state’s congressional delegation. Meanwhile, two congresswomen vowed to take the fight to the federal courts after their districts were largely ignored during oral arguments before the state Supreme Court, raising the prospect of more uncertainty in the nearly four-year saga about how to redraw the state’s political boundaries under a voter-approved ban on political gerrymandering. “There is no justice in this courthouse,” said Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown in a fiery speech after the hearing. “I will be going to the federal courthouse, because there is no justice and there will be no peace. We’ll go all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”
The more-subdued oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court focused on whether justices should stick with a map drawn by voting-rights groups and recommended by Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis. Lewis approved the plan over separate submissions from the House and the Senate, which failed to agree on a map during a special session in August.
The Supreme Court in July struck down the current congressional districts for violating the “Fair Districts” standards approved by voters in 2010. That led to the failed special session and, ultimately, to Lewis recommending the new map to justices.
During Tuesday’s hearing, which lasted less than an hour, Justice Barbara Pariente pressed a lawyer for the Legislature on how lawmakers decided to craft two South Florida districts that were struck down by the court in July.