Florida gerrymandering: supreme court rejects Republican redistricting.

Florida Supreme Court Rejects Republican Gerrymandering, Orders New Redistricting

Florida Supreme Court Rejects Republican Gerrymandering, Orders New Redistricting

The Slatest
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July 9 2015 3:16 PM

Florida Supreme Court Rejects Republican Gerrymandering, Orders New Redistricting

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The Florida Supreme Court, which just rejected Republican gerrymandering.

Photo by TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a congressional redistricting map drawn largely by the legislature's Republicans, ordering legislators to redraw as many as 22 districts. The court ruled that the legislature intentionally drew the map to favor GOP incumbents and disadvantage Democrats. In addition, the justices found that Republican legislators coordinated with consultants in order to draw more Republican-leaning districts. The court ordered the legislature to redraw the map on an expedited schedule with the oversight of a trial judge.

This decision marks a groundbreaking vindication of the Fair Districts Amendment, passed by Florida voters in 2010 to stop gerrymandering. The amendment is one of several measures states have experimented with to reduce partisan redistricting. In June, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Arizona's independent redistricting commission, indirectly affirming the validity of anti-gerrymandering measures like Florida's amendment. The Florida Supreme Court approvingly quoted from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's decision in that case—which affirmed, over the conservative justices' dissent, the “fundamental premise that all political power flows from the people.” 

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.