Pointing to a Florida Supreme Court ruling that rejected the legislatively-drawn state Senate map, Florida Democrats on Monday filed an alternative congressional map in Leon County Circuit Court and urged the court to quickly reject the Legislature’s plan.
“This is what a constitutionally valid map looks like,” said Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith in a statement. “The GOP, despite months of useless debate at an enormous cost to Florida taxpayers, has been unable to produce maps free of incumbent protection and partisan gerrymandering.”
The Democrat’s map focuses on making more compact the sprawling African American district now held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and in the process consolidates Orlando into two, instead of four districts. As if anticipating the assault on the district that now stretches over nine counties, Brown joined with Republican Congressman Mario Diaz Balart last year to challenge the Fair Districts amendment that resulted in the new anti-gerrymandering standards but the court rejected their argument.
The Democrat's plan also proposes keeping Hillsborough and Pinellas counties whole, rejecting the design sought by the Republican-led legislature that divides up both counties. The Democratic plan makes few changes, however, to the legislature’s proposals for South Florida.Download Romo Plaintiffs_ Motion for Summary Judgment Download Appendix.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro
Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis is scheduled to conduct a hearing on the challenge to the legislature’s congressional map during the week of April 16. The Democratic Party sued on behalf of several individual voters as did a coalition of voters groups, including the League of Women Voters, the National Council of La Raza, and Common Cause of Florida. Lewis has consolidated the cases and said he has not decided whether or not he will rule on the maps now, or conduct a full hearing later in the year.