A lot has been made of the failure to forward a lawsuit on the recently passed new House and Senate Districts. In 2012, a lawsuit that was filed against the Senate districts resulted in the map being tossed and a much more balanced map being adopted beginning with the 2016 election cycle.
Having been back by the courts in the last decade, Florida Republicans have opted to draw a fairer map, albeit not entirely fair for both House and Senate. By our calculations, the adopted plan should under optimum circumstances result in 47 House Democrats and 17 Senate Democrats, still a minority but stronger numbers than today. But rarely, if ever are expectations met by Florida Democrat’s House and Senate “victory” committees.
The failure to file a lawsuit in state court that makes its way to the Florida Supreme Court is the fault of the party, correct? Not really…
Because of fair districts, which ostensibly removes both political party’s from the process, it is incumbent on third party groups and Democrats’ legislative delegations to oppose the maps in state court. Heck, Fair Districts takes partisanship so out of the process that the recent stories we’ve run for TFS and TFS+ with partisan leans of districts is something we had to work to figure out internally, because the legislature unlike in 1992, 1996 and 2002 cannot share partisan information any more.
Like much of what has happened in the post-Citizens United world, the Florida Democratic Party has effectively been superseded by NGO’s and other third party groups that now hold the power in their hands. Along with elected officials they hold the key.
So on these maps specifically, Fair Districts Now feels the maps complied with fair districts. The Democrats legislative delegation felt that the better challenge was in federal court and wanted to get to a trial as quickly as possible and going through the courts in Florida and FLSC would delay that.
Of note, lower courts have found several maps in other states unconstitutional or in violation of the Voting Rights Act, but the US Supreme Court overruled a lower court that had deemed Alabama’s Congressional map illegal.
Watch this space and remember the Congressional redistricting fight is as hot currently as ever.