Florida’s redistricting saga continued Monday when a group of federal judges rejected a lawsuit to throw out the current congressional boundaries from U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville.
Brown has pushed judges to throw out Florida’s new congressional boundaries, alleging that the new boundaries the state created under direction from the Florida Supreme Court violate the federal Voting Rights Act.
A panel of three judges said Brown and her group of attorneys hadn’t produced enough evidence to support their case, according to the Associated Press.
Brown’s attorney William Sheppard has said the new boundaries, which will go into effect for the November elections, significantly deprive black voters of their ability to vote. The state’s new congressional district plan splits up Brown’s district into six other congressional districts.
Sheppard is pushing the court to allow Brown to run in what is currently the state’s 5th Congressional district, which runs from Tallahassee to Jacksonville.
Brown, a 10-term Congressman, has held a position in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992, but the new map will significantly change the state’s political landscape.
“What do we do with the people deprived of their vote?” Sheppard asked. “You can’t just place a minority district someplace else... you can’t solve a problem by creating one [black] district and destroying another.”
Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2010 forbidding state lawmakers from drawing districts to favor incumbents or a member of a political party.
The Florida Supreme Court ordered Florida lawmakers to redraw the state’s congressional and Senate lines last year after several government watchdog groups accused Republican lawmakers of violating the state constitution by gerrymandering congressional lines for their own political gain.
The state’s new congressional lines will have a significant impact on the state’s current political landscape and could have severe implications for some of the state’s lawmakers. For example, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who currently represents a heavily Democratic district, would have her district redrawn to lines which would heavily favor a Republican candidate.
Graham, a relative political newcomer, has refused to decide whether she will run for a second term as a result of the redistricting lawsuit. She currently has until June 24 to decide whether she will make another run for her seat in Congress.