Florida First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. Credit: Michael Rivera, Wikimedia Commons
A state appellate court has refused to transfer litigation over Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to erase a Black-access congressional District to the Florida Supreme Court, increasing the likelihood the governor’s plan will apply during this year’s primary and general elections.
The First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee said No to the request by voting-rights groups including Black Voters Matter, the Equal Ground Education Fund, the League of Women Voters of Florida on technical ground on Tuesday.
The court had already lifted a Leon County trial judge’s injunction against using the governor’s map. Besides erasing Congressional District 5 as a constituency giving Blacks in Florida’s old plantation and sharecropping belt a chance to send one of their own to Congress, it would give the GOP 20 of the 28 districts to which Florida is entitled following the 2020 U.S. Census.
The voting-rights groups have already asked the Supreme Court to take the case on its own initiative and enforce the Fair Districts amendment to the state Constitution. That’s supposed to ban partisan gerrymanders and dilution of racial and language minorities’ voting power.
DeSantis argues the amendment conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court rulings disfavoring race as a primary consideration in redistricting.
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