State appeals ruling, which found Florida’s congressional map unconstitutional

Florida’s Secretary of State has appealed this weekend’s ruling, which found Florida’s congressional map unconstitutionally diminished Black voting power.


According to that appeal, this weekend’s ruling will automatically be put on hold.

The ruling this weekend dealt an initial blow to Governor Ron DeSantis’ effort to dismantle the old Congressional District 5, which was previously held by former US Rep. Al Lawson and connected Black voters from Tallahassee to Jacksonville.

UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder said under DeSantis’ map, Jacksonville ended up with two solidly Republican seats.”If you’re under the impression that generally speaking Black Jacksonville voters tend to be Democratic, and they do by enormous percentages, the odds of a Democrat getting elected in either one of these seats is almost zero,” said Binder.

The judge ordered the Florida Legislature to redraw the northern districts and restore the minority access seat, but the legislature will likely wait to see how the case plays out on appeal before going down that road.

”The major X-factor here is the Florida Supreme Court,” said Dr. Nick Seabrook, a UNF political science professor and redistricting expert.

Seabrook noted plaintiffs and the state agreed to expedite the appeal of this weekend’s ruling to the Florida Supreme Court, which could either overturn or uphold DeSantis’ map by the end of the year.”

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The gamble that the state took going all the way back to when the map was drawn is that there is now a much more favorable majority both on the Florida Supreme Court and on the US Supreme Court,” said Seabrook.

DeSantis has argued the minority access district constituted an illegal racial gerrymander.

If the Governor prevails before the state supreme court, the legal fight will very likely end up before the US Supreme Court.

”In that situation, I think it might be quite likely that the state would be able to keep its map for 2024. If the Florida Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs, we are definitely going to have a new congressional map for the next election,” said Seabrook.

If the Florida Supreme Court sides with the Governor, it would mark a stark reversal, as it was the court itself that drew North Florida’s minority access district back in 2015.

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