A coalition of voting-rights groups trying to get lawmakers to testify about the 2012 redistricting process asked a skeptical Supreme Court on Monday to rule that legislators should not be shielded from speaking in court. Those challenging new district maps under the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” state constitutional amendments are appealing a 1st District Court of Appeal ruling that prevents the legislators who drew the districts from having to testify about “objective” facts about the redistricting process. The Supreme Court has no definitive timeline for ruling on the question. A lower court had initially ruled that the lawmakers should have to testify, though the trial court didn’t order lawmakers to testify about “subjective” issues, like why they made certain decisions.
Attorneys for the League of Women Voters and others opposed to the new maps, which were put in place before the 2012 election, told the justices that lawmakers should be required to fully explain their process, including testifying about “subjective” matters. But even justices who have been sympathetic to the opponents in the past seemed unwilling to go that far.
“I can see real problems down the road if we allow just an unlimited deposition of a legislator or the legislative aide,” said Justice Peggy Quince.
But Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, a former Democratic lawmaker and former dean of the Florida State University College of Law, said that would prevent opponents of the maps from finding out why lawmakers drew the lines they way they did — a critical part of the Fair Districts amendments’ ban on lawmakers drawing lines that are intended to favor political parties or incumbents.
Full Article: Supreme Court Gets Redistricting Case | TheLedger.com.