Florida Republicans responded to a Federal Court order to redraw their congressional map so that it will conform with the state’s constitution. There is just one problem, the new map looks virtually identical to the unconstitutional one Judge Terry P. Lewis concluded was too gerrymandered to pass constitutional muster. Judge Lewis drew particular attention to Districts 5 & 10.
Here is some of what the Judge said about District 5.
“Congressional District 5 does not adhere tothe tier-two standards in Article III Section 1. It is visually not compact, bizarrely shaped, and does not follow traditional political boundaries as it winds from Jacksonville to Orlando.”
As Think Progress explains the differences between District 5 as drawn in the unconstitutional congressional map and the redrawn version are minimal.
Winding awkwardly around the center of the state to include the urban centers of Gainesville and Orlando made District 5 about 50 percent African American, and the population has been represented in Washington by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), a vocal member of Congressional Black Caucus, since 1992…
The new map proposed by state legislators would reduce Brown’s district to 48 percent African-American, while boosting her neighbor’s district–represented by Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) from 10 to over 12 percent African-American. Other than that tweak, the basic politics of the state are unlikely to change.
The League of Woman Voters and Common Cause, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of voters in Florida were not impressed.
They described the new map as “a slight alteration” that does a “disservice to voters who have waited too long for constitutional districts.”
Even though Republicans have the votes to pass this map in the legislature, it is unlikely that Judge Lewis will be any more impressed with this sham than the voters rights groups who brought this matter to the court’s attention.
As it stands, it’s debatable if a new map can be in place by Election Day. The judge already indicated that it may be necessary to postpone the election or hold a special election in the affected districts. Those possibilities look increasingly.
Image: Tampa Bay