G. McConway
September 4, 2023

Florida Judge Rules DeSantis Redistricting Map is Unconstitutional

Governor Ron DeSantis and Republicans are taking one on the chin today from Judge J. Lee Marsh.

Marsh, who was appointed by then-Governor Rick Scott, ruled that the redistricting lines drawn up by DeSantis are unconstitutional, reported Fox News.

In Marsh's opinion, the new map would diminish the ability of black voters to have their voices heard, as he echoes a talking point of Democrats.

Settled Issue

Marsh's ruling is flawed, and I believe it will be overturned as this case moves forward.

For now, however, the new map will be put on hold while they escalate the case.

At the heart of the challenge for Democrats is former Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL), a black man who lost his race by 20 points under the new map.

This issue has been settled by the Supreme Court in Miller v. Johnson, a case that was argued before the Supreme Court in 1995.

The court ruled that race alone may not be a considered factor when establishing new district maps, yet the decision by Marsh clearly put race at the forefront of his ruling.

UCLA law professor Rick Hasen recently commented on this during an NPR interview.

He stated, "So what the court says is that if a state could draw a district line to give minority voters more representation, it is allowed to do so - and, in fact, the Voting Rights Act would require it to do so - if it's not going to mess with the traditional districting principles.

"So, for example, when lines are drawn in really weird ways and so the shape of districts looks really odd, that might be a signal that race was made the predominant factor, the most important factor, and that's something that you cannot do."

Now, when DeSantis redrew the lines, he specifically called out Democrat gerrymandering for having created the previous maps.

So, this case will come down to comparing the old maps to the new ones to see which party, in fact, was gerrymandering to give itself an advantage.

I am not sure we will ever solve this issue because both parties are guilty of gerrymandering after they get control back of the state House from the opposing party.

At this point, it is just a case of who does less gerrymandering.

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