Florida legislature approves DeSantis congressional district map

by mcardinal

Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News 


A district court has reinstated the Florida state congressional map that was presented by Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office and approved by the state legislature. 

According to US News and World Report, the map was approved during a special session and would give more advantages to Republicans than the previous maps. Democrat lawmakers were frustrated, saying it would push the state back “20 years” via Republicans’ control of more districts. Liberal dissenters have also asserted that it targets black representation in state politics.

According to Forbes, the Tallahassee-based First District Court of Appeal overturned a lower court’s decision to block the map, noting “there is a high likelihood that the temporary injunction is unlawful.”

The injunction was issued last week by DeSantis-appointed Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith, who claimed that the new map violates the Fair Districts Amendments in the state constitution by moving the 5th congressional district out of north Florida.

“The district, which straddles about 150 miles along the Georgia border, is majority-minority, with Black residents composing more than 40% of the population. DeSantis claims the district’s location is unconstitutional because of how long it stretches,” Forbes reported. 

Shortly after the Florida legislature approved the map last month, voting rights advocates and Democratic attorney Marc Elias’ law firm stood against legislation with Elias filing a lawsuit asking the court system to step in, calling the redrawn map tantamount to gerrymandering to help Republicans.

“You all found a way to divide and carve a 50-50 state into a 20-to-8 partisan gerrymander – that’s what’s before us right now,” Democratic Rep. Andrew Learned said Thursday. “And you found a way to cut minority representation in half at the same time. The outcome speaks louder than your words. People should choose their representatives, not politicians choosing their voters. This flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution, and, more importantly, every democratic ideal that we hold dear.”

The map creates a structure where Florida gains two congressional districts, raising the number to 28, due to population gain reflected in the 2020 federal census. Currently, Republicans represent 16 of Florida’s 27 districts, however, the new map would likely give the GOP four additional seats.