Ct rejects tender to toss out FL congressional map

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 6:01 AM

S. Rep. Corrine Brown to toss out the current district boundaries. Brown, a veteran member of Congress, argued that the current map, which dramatically altered her Jacksonville district, violates federal voting laws because it diluted the voting rights of minorities.

Ct rejects tender to toss out FL congressional map

Florida'south long, twisted valid drama over its congressional districts may finally be reaching its finish after a panel on federal judges on Monday rejected a thrust by U. S. Rep. Corrine Brown to toss out the current district boundaries.

Brown, a veteran member of Congress, argued that the current map, which dramatically altered her Jacksonville district, violates federal voting laws because it diluted the voting rights of minorities. But the panel of three judges disagreed sharply and said that Brown and her attorneys hadn't produced proof to prove her case.

Brown, who'd previously vowed to hold up the fight as long as she could, said in a brief statement that she was "extremely disappointed" and is reviewing the ruling with her attorneys. Any appeal, however, would go directly to the U. S. Supreme Ct since a three-judge panel handled the initial decision.

The decision could've immediate reverberations because the new map upends the state'south political landscape and could lead to the beat of several incumbents. The current map was approved by the state Supreme Ct in December after a lengthy battle.

The new map, for example, puts U. S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who's been viewed as a rising star for Democrats, in a N FL district that leans Republican and splits her residence of Tallahassee. She's refused to create a decision on her political future because of the ongoing lawsuit. Brown'south district has been shifted from one that stretches S to Orlando to one that presently runs W to Tallahassee. She's already drawn challengers.

"I'm disappointed the second congressional District will be transformed from a fair, moderate district into two extreme partisan districts. Dividing Tallahassee hurts N FL and our community," Graham said in a statement. "Now that the lengthy valid challenges to the maps have been completed, I'll create a decision as to what'south following as soon as possible. Though the maps may have changed, my commitment to public service has not."

Nearly six years ago, FL voters approved the "Fair Districts" amendments, which mandated that state legislators cannot draw districts intended to assistance incumbents or a member of a political party. A coalition of groups, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, challenged the congressional map first approved by the FL Legislature in two thousand-twelfth, saying it violated the new standards. In a stinging ruling latest July, the state Supreme Ct said GOP operatives had "tainted" previous efforts to draw up maps and ordered that eight districts be redrawn.

GOP leaders returned during an Aug special session to adopt a new map, but they deadlocked over which map to pass. In the end, the FL Supreme Ct adopted a map that inc changes pushed by the groups that sued the Legislature.

Some Republicans have opted to either modify districts or not running for re-election for their House seats based on the proposed changes. The new map has also prompted former Gov. Charlie Crist, who switched to the Democratic Party in two thousand-thirteenth, to running for a seat in Pinellas County. Currently the GOP holds a 17-10 edge in Florida'south congressional delegation but that could narrow this fall below the new boundaries.

In her lawsuit, Brown had argued that the new configuration of her district could create it harder for black voters to the chosen a candidate of their choice. She'd also contended that the new map included dozens of prisons, which masked the true no of eligible voters. But the judges pointed out that an analysis of voting data showed that black candidates including President Barack Obama still won in the new district.

"The proof demonstrates that black preferred candidates should generally continue to win east-west District five with about sixty % of the vote," states the ruling. "And a win is a win, regardless of the edge of victory."

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