Judge rules Florida congressional map unconstitutional

A judge struck down Florida's congressional map Thursday, ruling the Republican-drawn lines violate an amendment to the state constitution designed to curb gerrymandering.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis said in his decision that the 5th and 10th congressional districts, represented by Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Daniel Webster (R), run afoul of the Fair Districts amendment passed in 2010. Lewis said that the problems with the two districts make the entire map unconstitutional, even if many districts do not need to be redrawn.

Lewis's decision is expected to be appealed and it is not clear whether it will impact the 2014 elections by forcing new lines to be drawn before the election. The League of Women Voters of Florida brought the lawsuit forward.

David King, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs said, "It's a pretty historic ruling," according to the Associated Press, adding, "It just doesn't work to say you are open and transparent. You actually have to do it."

In his decision, Lewis writes that Republican consultants "did in fact conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process" and "they made a mockery of the Legislature's proclaimed transparent and open process of redistricting."

The new lines were drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2012 following the release of decennial Census data.

Read the 41-page ruling here, courtesy of the Campaign Legal Center.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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