The Florida Supreme Court denied Thursday Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) attempt to get it to issue a preemptive opinion on redistricting maps still being crafted by the state legislature.
DeSantis wanted the court to weigh in on the legality of dismantling two of Florida’s four predominantly Black districts, a vision he laid out in a maximally aggressive map drawn by his office. The legislature did not consider DeSantis’ map and unusual attempt to involve himself in the process, prompting DeSantis to try to win over the ultra-conservative state Supreme Court to his side.
Democratic-backed groups called DeSantis’ effort an “ill-conceived attempt to hijack the process” and liberal lawmakers panned it as the governor’s bid to blur the separation of powers.
“The governor reads his own authority too broadly,” Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) wrote in her brief to the court. “The power to approve or veto laws does not make one a king, nor does it convert the Supreme Court to a privy council.”
Team DeSantis said it was an innocent question to clarify murky legal standards and expedite the legislature’s work.
The court didn’t bite.
“While this Court acknowledges the importance of the issues presented by the Governor and the expressed need for quick resolution and finality, history shows that the constitutionality of a final redistricting bill for all congressional districts will be subject to more judicial review through subsequent challenges in court,” the justices wrote in a brief opinion.
The Florida legislature has essentially been deciding how aggressive of a map it can get away with amid the legal challenges that will inevitably follow.
The state Senate produced the least aggressive map, fairly similar to the state’s current layout. The state House went further, and DeSantis’ went further still. Unlike the maps from the two chambers, DeSantis’ goes after the Black congressional districts, halving the overall number and essentially eliminating one Voting Rights Act-protected district that is almost 50 percent Black.
Read the order here: