A Leon County judge should throw out the state’s current congressional districts as illegal because they were drawn as part of a secret process that favored Republicans, according to new filings from a coalition of voting-rights organizations opposed to the map. In a brief and a proposed ruling for Circuit Judge Terry Lewis to consider, the plaintiffs in a trial that ended last week tried to tie together the threads of 12 days of testimony about congressional districts approved by the Legislature in 2012 as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process. The brief, in particular, is meant to substitute for closing statements that were canceled because of a scheduling issue.
“The 2012 congressional plan is exactly what one would expect from a legislature that fought the Fair Districts amendments at every hedgerow, involved partisan operatives in its decision-making, and made key decisions outside of the public eye,” said the brief, filed late Wednesday.
The landmark trial is the first time that a court has considered a challenge to the state’s congressional map under the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments, approved by the voters in 2010. Opponents of the map contend that the Legislature tried to get around those redistricting standards to help the Republican Party and some incumbents, in violation of the new rules.