May 11, 2022

DeSantis to Appeal Judge’s Ruling Against New Congressional Map

The FL legislature fully passed Gov. Ron DeSantis' proposed redistricting map (4/21/22)
The FL legislature fully passed Gov. Ron DeSantis' proposed redistricting map (4/21/22)

By Lydia Nusbaum

May 11, 2022  Updated 3:03 P.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Communications Director said the administration will “undoubtedly” appeal a Florida judge’s decision to strike down the new congressional map Florida Republicans approved.

Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit Judge J. Layne Smith reportedly said the new congressional map is likely unconstitutional because it “diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect the representative of their choice.” The judge intends to grant an injunction to prevent the map from going into effect for the August primary election. 

Florida Governor Communications Director Taryn Fenske said the DeSantis administration is “confident” the map will pass with “legal muster” once appealed. 

“As Judge Smith implied, these complex constitutional matters of law were always going to be decided at the appellate level,” Fenske said. “We will undoubtedly be appealing his ruling and are confident the constitutional map enacted by the Florida legislature and signed into law passes legal muster. We look forward to defending it.”

House Democratic Caucuses members said they are pleased with the judge’s decision Wednesday.

“We know the new Congressional map proposed by the Governor diminishes the voting rights of Black voters, yet the Governor chose to waste taxpayer dollars convening a special session to double-down on diminishing minority voting rights,” said Democrat State Rep. Joseph Geller. 

Florida lawmakers approved the congressional map during a special session in April which would essentially give Republicans more seats. DeSantis had vetoed the original map lawmakers passed. Governor DeSantis said District 5 was drawn to favor black representation, despite it not being a black-majority district.

The new map eliminates two districts, District 5 and District 10, that are drawn in favor of a minority black population to elect a Democrat in their respective districts. 

Republicans said the new map is constitutional and avoids racial gerrymandering while Democrats claim it disenfranchises black voters and violates the Fair Districts amendment Florida voters passed in 2010.

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