A circuit court judge ruled late Thursday that the Florida legislature illegally redrew the state’s congressional districts in 2012 to benefit Republicans.
Circuit Judge Terry Lewis slammed political operatives in his ruling, saying they “made a mockery of the Legislature’s transparent and open process of redistricting” while “going to great lengths to conceal from the public their paln [sic] and their participation in it,” as quoted by the Tampa Bay Times. While the judge concluded that GOP operatives “did in fact conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process,” he did not determine that legislative leaders were in on the scheme.
Lewis ordered that the state’s 5th and 10th congressional districts, represented by Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Daniel Webster (R), respectively, be redrawn, according to the newspaper. Neighboring districts would also be affected by those changes.
The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of groups including the League of Women Voters that accused Republicans of manipulating Florida’s political map to favor the GOP, according to the New York Times.
A spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Florida told the New York Times that party officials weren’t yet prepared to comment. The state was expected to appeal the ruling, though, so the decision is unlikely to affect this year’s elections.
This post has been updated.