Issue #299

Judge invalidates two Florida congressional districts

Florida's meandering 5th Congressional District

Florida’s meandering 5th Congressional District

A judge threw out Florida’s congressional map late Thursday, ruling that the Legislature allowed for a “secret, organized campaign” by partisan operatives to subvert the redistricting process in violation of the state Constitution. In a 41-page ruling, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis said that two of the state’s 27 districts are invalid and must be redrawn, along with any other districts affected by them, to bring the map into compliance with the state’s new Fair District amendments. The case, brought by a coalition led by the League of Women Voters, is expected to be appealed and ultimately decided by the Florida Supreme Court. The judge agreed with the coalition’s prime argument: that Republican legislators and staffers collaborated with political consultants to create “a shadow redistricting process” that protected incumbents and the GOP. Tampa Bay Times, 7-10-14.