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Redistricting challengers ask Supreme Court for emergency ruling in secret docs

A coalition of voters challenging Florida's congressional maps filed an emergency petition in the Florida Supreme Court Friday, asking the court to allow documents from political operatives who advised legislators to become part of the ongoing redistricting trial.

The court has given respondents until 3:30 p.m. to reply.  Download SC14-987

The First District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that 538 pages of maps, emails and memos are confidential “trade secrets” that may not be entered as evidence in the trial that is now in its fifth day in circuit court in Leon County. As a result, portions of the appeal and the attachments will remain under seal, attorneys said.

The ruling was a setback to League of Women Voters and seven Florida voters who are suing the state for violating the law that prohibits legislators from protecting political parties and incumbents when redistricting the state’s congressional boundaries. Download Motion to expedite briefing (00087321)

The plaintiffs have spent the first four days of the trial arguing that “legislators and staffers collaborated” with political operative Pat Bainter, of Data Targeting, and other partisan operatives “to conduct a separate redistricting process that was not only apart from the public process — but actually perverted the public process itself.”

They said in their motion that they want the Supreme Court to act quickly because "if the Court does not grant interim relief, it will lose the ability to grant the Plaintiffs the primary remedy they seek in this litigation—the redrawing of congressional districts before the 2014 election."

Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis had ordered Bainter to turn over thousands of documents and said that 538 pages could be entered as evidence in the trial. But Bainter’s lawyers, who are being paid by the Republican Party of Florida, said the release of the documents would result in irreparable harm.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/22/4132178/appeals-court-rules-that-secret.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/22/4132178/appeals-court-rules-that-secret.html#storylink=cThe ruling by the was a setback to League of Women Voters and seven Florida voters who are suing the state for violating the law that prohibits legislators from protecting political parties and incumbents when redistricting the state’s congressional boundaries.The plaintiffs allege that “legislators and staffers collaborated” with political operative Pat Bainter, of Data Targeting, and other partisan operatives “to conduct a separate redistricting process that was not only apart from the public process — but actually perverted the public process itself.”Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis had ordered Bainter to turn over thousands of documents and said that 538 pages could be entered as evidence in the trial. But Bainter’s lawyers, who are being paid by the Republican Party of Florida, said the release of the documents would result in irreparable harm.

Bainter appealed Lewis’ ruling, claiming he had a First Amendment privilege not to release what he considered proprietary information. The appeals court agreed.

The three judges who signed the ruling, Joseph Lewis, Simone Marstiller and Scott Makar, were each appointed by Republican governors — Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.

The ruling came on the fourth day of the landmark trial in Leon County in which plaintiffs have been trying to show that legislators violated the constitutional redistricting rules by allowing Republican consultants to coordinate map-making and “undermine the public redistricting process.”

Story here.

Comments

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ed jenkins

The citizens want this bickering over mundane administrative government functions removed from our court system which takes up resources funded by taxpayer confiscated funds. These citizens and the league made up of only one sex of voters can address these issues with their local representative and need not involve our courts.

L. Hall

How many ways could one person be totally off the mark with their comments? 1) There is nothing mundane about the drawing of districts - the whole foundation of a representative democracy relies on citizens having the opportunity to elect individuals who represent their point of view - and when the district lines are rigged, citizens are disenfranchised. 2) One sex of voters? The League works on behalf of all voters. 3) Address with local representatives? The question at hand is whether or not our elected leaders violated the constitutional mandate to draw fair districts. Are we supposed to just take their word for it? There are three branches of government for a reason - a balance of power to hold all accountable.

MarvinM

L. Hall, ed jenkins is our resident ... uh, poster person. Read these threads enough, and I hope you will, and you'll quickly see his modus operandi. You'll get used to it, you'll expect it, and you'll be able to contribute to these threads without EJ distracting you from your great comments.

I do hope you keep posting here.

D

Shut the hell up Marvin you loser. The last thing we need here is more dumb broads like Hall the loser posting here because her life sucks so much she has to be obsessed with these stupid government cases.

L. Hall

Does he assume I am female because I disagree with him? Or because I am clearly more intelligent? Just wondering what gave me away - LOL.

D

Look lady. No one here wants to hear your nagging so either save it for your husband or find a husband to put up with it so the rest of us don't have to.

L. Hall

Don't worry, am done posting. I raised legitimate questions about the veracity of your post, and further comments have confirmed this is not an appropriate forum for intelligent discussion of the issues at hand. It was a test - and you failed miserably.

davefe

This has all the markings of a Republican cover up. The Florida Supreme court needs to over turn the decision of the lower appeals court, all Republicans naturally. The trial and investigation has already revealed that GOP political operatives had their seat at the table and corrupted the process put into place by the voters. It seems the voters matter little here in Florida.

Highly paid Republican operative

I resent that last post.

I am just doing the Bsoses bidding.

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