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Redistricting is creating rifts in the state's high court

As the Florida Supreme Court opens redistricting arguments Wednesday over the Legislature’s proposed maps, recent deliberations of the normally subdued court have signaled an internal feud over how to handle the issue.

Two of the court’s conservative justices, Charles Canady and Ricky Polston, appear to want to limit the court's review while the court’s two liberals, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince, appear to want them to dig deeper. In the middle are the swing votes, moderates Justices Fred Lewis, Jorge Labarga and James E.C. Perry.

In the last two weeks, Pariente and Quince have teamed up with two of the moderate judges to demand that legislators turn over their addresses as the non-partisan court is weighing into the once-a-decade partisan battle. Meanwhile, Canady and Polston have also aligned themselves with moderates to block a request from a coalition of voters groups who asked to submit a new version of their proposed map and stopped the Florida Democratic Party from admitting testimony from an expert witness.

"We’re in uncharted waters,’’ said Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, the chairman of the House’s redistricting committee. The new amendments, he said, are "giving the court the opportunity to look at it in a different way.”

The court will hear oral arguments in the case on Wednesday and, if the last two weeks are any indication, the panel could be prepared with some feisty questions. Story here.

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