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DeSantis’ redistricting map blocked by judge

A state judge has ruled that a congressional map approved by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and drawn by his staff is unconstitutional because it breaks up a district where Black voters can choose their representatives. Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith said Wednesday that he will issue a formal order Thursday or Friday to keep the maps from taking effect in November’s election. He made it clear he would rule in favor of voting rights groups challenging the maps.The governor’s office released this statement:“As Judge Smith implied, these complex constitutional matters of law were always going to be decided at the appellate level. We will undoubtedly be appealing his ruling and are confident the constitutional map enacted by the Florida legislature and signed into law passes legal muster. We look forward to defending it.” Voting rights groups have said the election maps drawn by DeSantis, and approved by Republican state lawmakers, violate and ignore the state constitution. The map wipes out three congressional seats held by Democrats, turning others that were competitive into GOP-leaning seats. Plus, the map destroys the North Florida district, CD-5, which is majority Black.At a Wednesday court hearing, an expert testified that affects over 360,000 Black voters.”In none of them would Blacks be able to elect their preferred candidates,” Harvard’s Dr. Stephen Ansolabehere stated. Critics say the governor’s map violates the Fair District Amendment approved by voters in 2010, to prevent lawmakers from making maps to favor certain political parties.The governor’s side says that goes against the U.S. Constitution.”The non-diminishment clause of the Florida Constitution running smack dab into the equal protection clause of the Federal Constitution. It renders the Florida Constitution’s provision as applied unconstitutional,” said Mohammad Jazil, attorney for the Florida secretary of state.The lawsuit also targets District 7 in central Florida, currently held by Democrat Stephanie Murphy, saying the map makes it far whiter, and friendlier to Republicans.

A state judge has ruled that a congressional map approved by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and drawn by his staff is unconstitutional because it breaks up a district where Black voters can choose their representatives.

Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith said Wednesday that he will issue a formal order Thursday or Friday to keep the maps from taking effect in November’s election.

He made it clear he would rule in favor of voting rights groups challenging the maps.

The governor’s office released this statement:

“As Judge Smith implied, these complex constitutional matters of law were always going to be decided at the appellate level. We will undoubtedly be appealing his ruling and are confident the constitutional map enacted by the Florida legislature and signed into law passes legal muster. We look forward to defending it.”

Voting rights groups have said the election maps drawn by DeSantis, and approved by Republican state lawmakers, violate and ignore the state constitution. The map wipes out three congressional seats held by Democrats, turning others that were competitive into GOP-leaning seats.

Plus, the map destroys the North Florida district, CD-5, which is majority Black.

At a Wednesday court hearing, an expert testified that affects over 360,000 Black voters.

“In none of them would Blacks be able to elect their preferred candidates,” Harvard’s Dr. Stephen Ansolabehere stated.

Critics say the governor’s map violates the Fair District Amendment approved by voters in 2010, to prevent lawmakers from making maps to favor certain political parties.

The governor’s side says that goes against the U.S. Constitution.

“The non-diminishment clause of the Florida Constitution running smack dab into the equal protection clause of the Federal Constitution. It renders the Florida Constitution’s provision as applied unconstitutional,” said Mohammad Jazil, attorney for the Florida secretary of state.

The lawsuit also targets District 7 in central Florida, currently held by Democrat Stephanie Murphy, saying the map makes it far whiter, and friendlier to Republicans.

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