|New Florida Senate district map still in hot water|
|Friday, 27 April 2012 10:09|
The newly designed Florida Senate district map, intended to replace the map rejected by the Florida Supreme Court, has been resubmitted to court for approval. The map however still did not meet the approval of state voter groups, including the Fair District Coalition and the NAACP, who brought the redistricting case to court.
The Fair District Coalition claims that the map still violated the state's constitutional requirements, favoring Republican incumbents in some of the Senate's voting districts. Critics claim that, based on the results of the 2008 and 2010 general elections, the new map would still ensure Republican majority in the Florida Senate, with set support for 23 strong Republican Senate seats, 15 strong Democratic seats, and only two seats as marginal. The senate currently is comprised of 28 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
Critics also argue that the new map is not favorable to the election of minority senators, with only five districts reflecting strong voting numbers for Black and Hispanic communities, despite the booming diversity of the state's population. This was one key issue on the map rejected by the Florida Supreme Court in March, where eight districts were found to violate the new Fair Districts standards previously approved by Florida voters.
The dissatisfaction of the new map was so strong that the critics sought to have
the Florida Supreme Court reject the map and have the justices rewrite it themselves.
Earlier this month the Florida Democratic Party and the Fair Districts Coalition argued before a Leon County circuit court judge that the new map was still flawed, requesting that the court throw it out.
Subsequent to the hearing in the Leon County court, the opponents of the second Senate map filed briefs with the Supreme Court, arguing the Legislature's map still violated the Fair Districts standards.
The Supreme Court however rejected the arguments by the opponents that the entire map should be challenged rather than the eight districts that the Court objected to on the first version of the map. Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente told the opponents that the court's decision that one district was invalid did not suggest that the whole map should be redrawn. She said such action would be unfair to the Senate.
The Florida Supreme Court, which previously approved the redistricting map for the Florida House of Representative districts, will have until May 14 to review the Senate's new map. However, if the map is again rejected by the court, then the justices will be required to draw a new Senate districting map.