Ron DeSantis’ Redistricting Map Apparently Deemed Too Racist Even For a DeSantis-Appointed Judge

Florida congressional map Ron DeSantis in an apparent attempt to dilute the Blacks vote was blocked Wednesday as “unconstitutional” – by a federal judge appointed by the governor himself. “The issued map is unconstitutional under the Fair County amendment,” Leon County Court Judge Layne Smith said Wednesday, knocking down part of DeSantis’ so-called “race-neutral” map and ordering a replacement from the Harvard University professor Stephen Ansolabehere, a witness for the plaintiff. “It reduces the ability of African-Americans to elect their chosen representative.”

The decision, which the governor’s office said will challenge when officially included, will launch a significant legal battle in the key battleground state that is expected to go all the way up to the state Supreme Court.

Florida Republicans last month gave DeSantis, a leading GOP culture fighter and potential presidential ambition, the right to come up with his own congressional map after he vetoed a proposed map. Legislature approved in March. Critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, denounced it as a “dangerous and unprecedented move”.

“The Florida Legislature’s decision to cede the yearlong redrawing process for congressional districts to Governor DeSantis is undemocratic,” ACLU said. speak at that time. “People should choose their politicians, not vice versa.”

If giving the governor the power to redistribute power is intrinsically undemocratic, his proposed map goes even further: In targeting what he calls “separators” unconstitutional,” he essentially engaged in self-mockery, tearing down a predominantly Black district represented by Congress. Al Lawson and spread Democratic-leaning voters through four Republican-leaning districts; Republicans, who currently represent 16 of Florida’s 27 seats in the US House of Representatives, will have a 20-8 advantage under the new map, which includes another county due to population growth. Map of DeSantis rubber stamped by Florida Republicans in April, amid protests from voting rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers, who chanted “Stop the riot. black attack” as the GOP-controlled House approved the map. “I hope you realize that when you start trampling on disadvantaged people in the way that you are doing, which you know is wrong – that’s when you have to think for yourself about whether we’re doing it. right or not. , “Democratic State Senator Shevrin Jones said in a floor speech at the time, noting that Florida could end up with just two Black representatives in Congress if gerrymander passes it. “

Smith’s ruling would preserve Lawson’s 5th District and also allow a map by Ansolabehere, a witness for civil rights groups that have challenged DeSantis’ authority, to be used in its place. “DeSantis was wrong to enact this Republican-leaning map, which clearly violates the constitutions of the United States and the state,” Lawson said in a statement Thursday. “It is important to maintain the annual congress so that minority voters have a say at the ballot box in November.”

“I am optimistic that future courts will also do what is right,” added Lawson.

It remains to be seen if they will. DeSantis’ map, on the other hand, is blatantly partisan and would appear to be in clear violation of the state’s Equity District standards that prohibit counties from “rejecting minority language or ethnic groups from having the right to fair association participates in the political process and elects representatives of their choice,” as Smith ruled on Wednesday. Smith, who was appointed to the court by DeSantis in 2020, said: “The minority vote was lowered enough that you would expect that it would be significantly harder for minorities to elect candidates. that they choose.

Florida Republicans, on the other hand, were successful in the appeals process with their draconian voting restrictions, having been blocked by a lower court for willful discrimination. “This is an opinion that the full right to read the Voting Rights Act the way that Congress intended it to be read, and essentially for the superior courts to ignore it,” the law expert voted. Rick Hasen told NBC News after Judge Mark WalkerSenate decision against Senate Bill 90. An appeals court decided last week to temporarily reinstate the midterm restrictions and found Walker’s assessment that the law was intended to discriminate was “flawed”. It’s possible that DeSantis’ map legal battle could play out in a similar way, especially if it reaches the state’s Supreme Court, which is currently comprised entirely of Republican appointees. tie – three of them were named by DeSantis. “We will certainly appeal his ruling and are confident that the constitutional map issued by the Florida Legislature and signed into law will surpass legal aggregation.” Taryn Fenskea spokesman for DeSantis, told Politico. “We look forward to protecting it.”

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/05/florida-judge-rules-desantis-redistricting-map-unconstitutional Ron DeSantis’ Redistricting Map Apparently Deemed Too Racist Even For a DeSantis-Appointed Judge

Sarah Ridley

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