By Andrew Pantazi
The Tributary

The Florida Supreme Court upheld the state’s new House and Senate district maps Thursday, the final step for their approval ahead of August’s primaries and November’s general elections that will determine control of the state Legislature.

For the first time in the 60 years where Florida law has allowed the public to challenge district maps before they’re enacted, no one opposed the plans in court.

That’s despite claims by House Democratic leaders that the plans were “easily provable” violations of state and federal laws.

FairDistricts Now President Ellen Freidin had praised the process, saying TKTK.

However, Rep. Joe Geller, the House Democrats’ ranking member on the redistricting committee, disagreed, saying in a statement last month that the likely reason no one opposed the plans was so the plans could be challenged in court more quickly.

House Democratic Leader Evan Jenne, who had earlier said the maps were obviously unconstitutional and would be thrown out, repeated that argument.

“Celebrating this is like running victory laps in the first quarter. We still have a lot of game left to play,” he said in a statement. “… We have a long way to go before the final story is written about this redistricting process.” 

The Florida Supreme Court rejected attempts by the Legislature to overturn its past precedent under a more liberal court, instead narrowly ruling on the validity of the current map.

Justice Carlos Muñiz, who was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2019, wrote that an “uncontested proceeding” wasn’t the appropriate place to deal with those precedents.

This is Changing Florida, a Tributary newsletter keeping you up to date on redistricting, demographics and the fight for political power in the Sunshine State.

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On The Calendar

The Florida House is scheduled to vote on the congressional redistricting plan Friday at noon.

Andrew Pantazi edits and reports for The Tributary. He previously worked as a reporter at The Florida Times-Union where he helped organize the newsroom's union with the NewsGuild-CWA. He is a Jacksonville...