Federal judges uphold Florida redistricting, a win for Republicans forward of 2024 election

Federal judges uphold Florida redistricting, a win for Republicans forward of 2024 election

A Florida congressional redistricting plan championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was upheld Wednesday by a panel of federal judges, who rejected arguments that it discriminated in opposition to black voters within the Sunshine State. 

The unanimous ruling is a serious win for Republicans forward of the 2024 elections, as the brand new map resulted in former Democratic Rep. Al Lawson dropping his Fifth District race to Republican John Rutherford within the 2022 midterms.

The Fifth District flip was certainly one of 4 Home seats in Florida gained by Republicans that yr with the DeSantis-crafted map. 

Republicans will solely have a threadbare 217-213 majority within the Home after Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) departs from Congress subsequent month. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks throughout a information convention held on the Santorini by Georgios restaurant in Miami Seaside on March 20, 2024. Getty Photos

The three-judge panel discovered no proof that the Florida Legislature acted with racial motivation when it authorized DeSantis’ redistricting plan. 

DeSantis had beforehand vetoed a congressional map drawn by state lawmakers, arguing that it violated the US Structure’s Equal Safety Clause as a result of it was racially gerrymandered. 

“No matter is likely to be stated concerning the Legislature’s determination to surrender the combat for preserving a Black-performing district in North Florida, it didn’t quantity to ratification of racial animus in violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments,” the opinion authored by Judges Adalberto Jordan, Casey Rodgers and Allen Winsor acknowledged. 

Whether or not or not DeSantis thought of race when presenting the map to state lawmakers didn’t issue into the panel’s determination, with the ruling noting that “a public and collective decision-making physique, just like the Florida Legislature, is answerable just for its personal unconstitutional actions and motivations.” 

Florida's redistricting map proposed in 2022.
Florida’s redistricting map proposed in 2022.

“The illegal motivations of others — whether or not constituents, the Governor, or perhaps a single member of the physique itself — don’t develop into these of the decision-making physique as an entire.”

“Even assuming that Governor DeSantis acted with some illegal discriminatory motive in creating and proposing the redistricting map that was in the end enacted into legislation,” the plaintiffs did not sufficiently show that the Florida Legislature “had an identical motive in adopting and passing that map.”

Whereas the ruling may be appealed to the Supreme Court docket, the justices could be unlikely to rule on the matter earlier than the November election.  

A separate problem to the map is pending earlier than Florida’s excessive court docket. 

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