Tallahassee, Florida – The judge’s decision that the new map of Congress, drawn up by the Republican staff of the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, is unconstitutional, was appealed by the state.
The announcement of the appeal on Thursday came hours after District Judge Lane Smith issued an injunction preventing the use of the DeSantis card in the November election.
“Because this court found a violation of the Florida Constitution and that there is time to correct the violation, this court must consider what remedy is appropriate,” Smith said in his order. “This court finds that a narrow remedy – one that concerns only the reductions discussed in this order – is the most appropriate.”
Smith ordered the use of a map drawn by a Harvard professor who testified in favor of the plaintiffs, but a state appeal kept the DeSantis map in place. The case is transferred to the 1st District Court of Appeal.
Florida won the 28th county seat in Congress because of population growth over the past decade, meaning Smith could not order the use of current cards while the trial continues.
An appeal comes when the state approaches the qualifying period from June 13 to 17 for a federal position, and no matter what the appellate court decides, the card will most likely be handed over to the state Supreme Court. DeSantis appointed three of the seven acting judges.
The card has been challenged by several voting groups, who have argued it is unconstitutional because it divides the constituency in northern Florida, which is part of Democratic Representative El Lawson, where blacks make up nearly 50 percent of the population. Smith agreed, saying the DeSantis map takes a constituency of 367,000 black voters and distributes them among four constituencies that will be predominantly white.
An unprecedented move by DeSantis, who is a potential presidential candidate in 2024, intervened in the process by presenting his own card just before the Senate had to approve his card.
During a 60-day legislative session that ended in March, the Senate ignored the governor’s card, and the House of Representatives approved two cards: the main one to try to appease DeSantis, and the second when the first card was found unconstitutional.
While the House of Representatives discussed its proposal, DeSantis used Twitter to say he would die on arrival. The Senate later approved House of Representatives cards, and DeSantis kept his promise and vetoed the bill.
DeSantis said Lawson County is a race-based subordinate and claims it violates the U.S. Constitution. He said his map is race-neutral. The Lawson area stretches 200 miles (320 kilometers) from Jacksonville to Gadsden to connect black communities.
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