by: Romney Smith Updated:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A judge ruled that Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s district has illegal boundaries and that they need to change.
After learning that Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled her district was illegal, Brown said her constituents have nothing to worry about.
“They're not going to lose me. - I am going to fight to keep them. -They are not going to lose me,” said Brown.
If the decision holds on appeal, UNF political science professor Matthew Corrigan says the maps will have to change.
“Some of the democrats in Rep. Brown’s district would be kind of chopped up into the other districts and so that would make those districts. which are Republican leaning, much more competitive,” said Corrigan.
Brown says her district, which snakes through more than half a dozen counties, doesn’t favor Republicans. - It is simply in accordance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to have minority representation.
“This is not just about me. - This is about making sure that we have African-Americans elected in every aspect,” said Brown.
Action News reached out to several local Republican congressmen for comment.-The Republican Party of Florida responded, saying,“RPOF is not a party to this litigation. The judge has issued his ruling and we’ll see what happens from here.”
Corrigan says if an appeal isn’t successful, the judge could choose to redraw the lines himself or make lawmakers do it.
“If he sends it back to the Legislature that's a long process. So it could take months and months to do that, and if that occurs we may be into 2016 before we know what the districts look like,” said Corrigan.
The decision that strikes down Brown’s district and another South Florida district could have a major ripple effect.
“If it does hold up on appeal, what will happen is the entire map of Florida will have to be redrawn in terms of congressional districts,” said Corrigan.
Brown says her district is protected by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.- She adds that redrawing the lines would harm African-American access to fair representation in Washington.
“Federal law supercedes state law and I will see you in court. Period,” said Brown.
Action News will stay on top of any developments, and bring them to you on air and online.