From the News Service of Florida:
A high-stakes legal battle about the constitutionality of the state's congressional districts should be fast-tracked to the Florida Supreme Court, a divided appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Under the ruling, the 1st District Court of Appeal would not take up a challenge to districts redrawn in August by the Legislature and to other decisions by a circuit judge. Instead, the case would go directly to the Supreme Court --- a relatively unusual move known as "certification" of the case to the higher court.
A panel of the appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, agreed on the certification issue with voting-rights groups that have waged a drawn-out legal battle about whether congressional district lines were drawn in 2012 and redrawn this year to favor Republicans. While the redrawn districts would not take effect until the 2016 elections, the majority of the appeals court pointed to the lengthy history of the case in deciding to pass it along to the Supreme Court.
"In this case, any doubts about the need for immediate review by the Supreme Court should be resolved in favor of certification,'' said the opinion, written by Judge Philip Padovano and joined by Judge Simone Marstiller.