Home PoliticsPolitical News A judge in Florida says he will block the Republicans’ new congressional map.

A judge in Florida says he will block the Republicans’ new congressional map.

by YAR

MIAMI — A state judge in Florida said Wednesday that an aggressively drawn, Republican-adopted map of Congress was unconstitutional because it diminished the electoral power of black voters.

After a hearing, Leon County Circuit Court Judge J. Layne Smith said from the bench that he would issue a formal order Thursday or Friday blocking the map, which has been challenged by several voting rights groups.

The administration of Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, will appeal.

“As Justice Smith hinted, these complex constitutional issues of law would always be decided at the appellate level,” Taryn Fenske, the governor’s spokeswoman, said in a statement, adding that the administration was confident the map passed the legal test. .

The judge’s office did not immediately confirm the ruling, which The Associated Press reported and the office of Marc E. Elias, a Democratic attorney whose voting rights group has been involved in litigating the case, described in a post on the website. of the organization.

The map would add four congressional districts that lean Republican and remove three that lean Democratic. That would most likely give Republicans control of 71 percent of Florida’s 28 seats, even though recent election results show the state, a perennial presidential battleground, is politically divided. much more equitably. Former President Donald J. Trump won the state in 2020 with 51.2 percent of the vote.

Republicans in the state House and Senate approved the map after DeSantis vetoed an earlier version and demanded that two districts held by black Democrats be redrawed. Lawmakers eliminated the district held by Rep. Al Lawson of Jacksonville and diluted the Orlando district held by Rep. Val Demings of Orlando. Mrs. Demings leaves her seat to challenge Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

“We know the governor’s proposed new map of Congress diminishes voting rights for black voters, but the governor chose to waste taxpayer money by calling a special session to double the decline in minority voting rights.” said state Rep. Joseph Geller of Aventura. A Democrat on the House Redistricting Committee, he said in a statement.

The final decision on the map could ultimately rest with the Florida Supreme Court, which has become more conservative in recent years after the retirement of several justices who have been replaced by those appointed by Mr. DeSantis. The court’s decision could uphold or strike down an amendment to the State Constitution enacted by Florida voters in 2010, which required compact districts that did not favor one political party.

It is unclear whether a ruling on an appeal would come in time for the November election.

Justice Smith was first appointed to the court by former Republican Governor Rick Scott, and then promoted to the circuit court in 2020 by Mr. DeSantis.

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