February 29, 2012 at 10:11 am
The Florida Supreme Court is hearing arguments this morning on the legislative redistricting maps enacted by the state Legislature. The state Supreme Court must determine whether the new districts for the House and Senate comply with voting rights laws and with two constitutional amendments adopted in 2010, forbidding state lawmakers to draw maps favoring incumbents or political parties.
The Florida Democratic Party and voting rights groups contend that the entire process–particularly in the Senate– was built around accommodating incumbents.
For their part. Republicans say that legislators fully complied with Florida’s new constitutional standards for redistricting.
“It was Florida’s Democratic Party that literally drew a set of maps and tried to get lawmakers to accept them. The idea that a political party will first draw maps and then decry a political process reflects the dishonesty in their critique,” Florida Republican Party spokesman Brian Hughes recently told FLDemocracy. “No matter what ultimately happens, the RPOF stands ready to defend our majorities.”
The court has until March 9 to reject or approve the Florida Legislature’s maps– 120 seats in the House and 40 in the Senate. If the court orders lawmakers to redo their plans, the governor will have five days to call a special two-week session for lawmakers to re-draw the maps.