Historic City News has learned that the Florida Supreme Court unanimously upheld the latest plan for redrawing state Senate boundaries today — a setback for Florida Democrats and allied organizations which had urged justices to declare the map unconstitutional.
“In this proceeding, we conclude that the opponents have failed to demonstrate that the revised Senate plan as a whole or with respect to any individual district violates Florida‘s constitutional requirements,” the court wrote, adding “no motion for rehearing will be entertained. This case is final.”
In a 5-2 decision last month, the court had declared the first Senate plan unconstitutional, ruling that eight districts favored incumbents, spanned long distances or packed-in minority voters – all in violation of voter-approved redistricting standards.
Democrats and other groups argued the redrawn map includes many of the same problems. However, in arguments before them last Friday, justices expressed misgivings at calls from Democratic lawyers for a wholesale rewrite.
The Florida Democratic Party, Common Cause of Florida, National Council of La Raza, and the state’s League of Women Voters sought a wholesale rewrite from justices, while the NAACP also pointed to problems with minority districts.
Justice Barbara Pariente, who wrote the opinion overturning the first Senate plan, concurred this time and added her own view of critics’ arguments. “I do not agree that this court has total discretion to substitute its policy preferences for legislative decisions,” Pariente wrote. “Rather, this court‘s role is to determine whether a violation of the constitution has been established.”