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 April 1, 2024

Court approves Florida congressional map that favors Republicans

A federal court has just upheld the congressional map, for the state of Florida, that has been backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other state Republicans. 

Politico reports that The U.S. District Court in Tallahassee upheld the map in a decision that it handed down last week.

The decision was made by a panel of three judges, and those three judges unanimously upheld the map, rejecting the challenge that had been brought against it.

The claim that they rejected is that the map engaged in racial gerrymandering and that it is, thus, unconstitutional. The judges disagreed with this argument.

"The plaintiffs’ vote dilution claims fail"

The Washington Examiner explains what led to the racial gerrymandering claim, noting that the new map "eliminated a previous black-majority district that stretched across much of the length of the northern part of the state." The outlet adds that this was part of a series of changes "that gave Republicans a significant advantage for the congressional delegation."

The federal judges, however, disagreed with the idea that this is racial gerrymandering.

"Whatever might be said about the Legislature’s decision to give up the fight for preserving a Black-performing district in North Florida, it did not amount to ratification of racial animus in violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments," the court wrote.

The court elsewhere explained that the "Plaintiffs had to prove both discriminatory effects and a discriminatory purpose," but that they failed to prove either. Therefore, the court decided to reject the challenge and to uphold the Republican-backed congressional map.

"There being no evidence of discriminatory purpose on the part of the Florida Legislature, the plaintiffs’ vote dilution claims fail," the judges wrote.

"We are very pleased"

This is a huge win for DeSantis and Florida Republicans.

Politico reports:

The decision is a substantial victory for Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who muscled the map through Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature. The congressional map his administration crafted ultimately resulted in Republicans gaining four seats, helping the GOP flip the U.S. House during the 2022 midterm elections.

The Florida government, on its website, posted a statement celebrating the court's decision to uphold the congressional map.

State Secretary Cord Byrd said, "This decision is vindication that Florida’s redistricting maps comply with Florida law and the U.S. Constitution. We are very pleased with the outcome of this effort."

At the time of this writing, DeSantis has not, personally, released a statement on the matter.

Written By:
Robert Ayers

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