Florida judge strikes down congressional district map for disenfranchising Black voters

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The case is in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, in and for Leon County, Florida. This is a state court located in northern Florida. The case is in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, in and for Leon County, Florida, a state court in northern Florida.

Marsh ruled that the redistricting map violates Article III, Section 20 of the Florida Constitution (Fair Districts Amendment) by diminishing the ability of Black voters in North Florida to elect representatives of their choice. Marsh stated that “the Legislature can’t eliminate majority-minority district or weaken any historically performing minority districts when doing so would actually reduce a minority group’s ability to choose its preferred candidates.” Marsh then found that plaintiffs, individuals voters and voter involvement organizations, showed that the map “weakens” (or, in this case, “actually eliminates”) Black voters’ abilities to elect candidates of their choosing. Marsh concluded, “by destroying a congressional district which allowed Black voters to choose candidates of their choosing under the previous plan the Enacted Plan has violated” the Florida Constitution. Marsh declared the map unconstitutional and blocked the Florida Secretary of State from using it in future elections.

Marsh also rejected the state’s defense that the Fair Districts Amendment violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. The Fair Districts Amendment prevents the use of redistricting maps that are designed to reduce minority voters’ capacity to elect representatives. Marsh rejected this argument and found that the state did not have standing to raise this claim. Marsh rejected this argument and found that the state did not have standing to raise this claim.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the redistricting plan, SB 2-C, in April 2022. Plaintiffs filed suit after the plans were enacted, alleging that the plan did not comply with the Fair Districts Amendment. It doesn’t even pretend to. The plaintiffs claimed that the plan of the governor would reduce the number of Black district from four to only two and give the Republican Party a disproportionate edge in 20 out of 28 districts.