A Florida appeals court on Friday ruled the state can move forward with redistricting plans backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that dismantle a largely Black district in north Florida, reversing an injunction granted by a lower court in response to a Democratic-backed lawsuit challenging the legality of the map.
The Tallahassee-based First District Court of Appeal determined the lower court erred by blocking the map, noting “there is a high likelihood that the temporary injunction is unlawful.”
DeSantis-appointed Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith issued the injunction last week, contending the new map violates the Fair Districts Amendments in the state constitution by moving the 5th congressional district out of north Florida.
The district, which straddles about 150 miles along the Georgia border, is majority-minority, with Black residents composing more than 40% of the population.
DeSantis claims the district’s location is unconstitutional because of how long it stretches.
“Given the exigency of the circumstances and the need for more certainty and continuity as election season approaches, on the court’s own motion, the stay of the temporary injunction is reinstated,” the court said in its ruling.
The Florida legislature approved the DeSantis-proposed map last month, which quickly drew widespread condemnation from voting rights advocates and a lawsuit filed by Democratic attorney Marc Elias’ law firm. Critics argue the redrawn maps are gerrymandered to help Republicans by diluting the influence of Black residents, a typically Democratic demographic.
What To Watch For
A New York state court is set to finalize a new congressional map Friday that could significantly increase Republicans’ power in the state delegation. A judge in March struck down a proposed map that would have widened Democrats’ advantage in New York after Republicans challenged the plan, claiming boundaries were drawn to dilute the GOP’s influence.
Florida Judge Blocks DeSantis Redistricting Map That Would Affect Black Voters (Forbes)
Judge Blocks New York Congressional Map Over Democratic Gerrymandering (Forbes)