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A judge has ruled a congressional map backed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as being “unconstitutional” because it breaks up a district where Black voters can choose their representatives.
Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith announced his plan to issue formal order to keep the maps from taking effect in November’s election.
The map DeSantis signed into law reduced the number of districts where Blacks make up a plurality of voters, known as Black access districts from four to two. The state’s map also decreased the percentage of Black voters in Florida’s 10th Congressional District.
“The judge recognizes that this map is unlawful and diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect representatives of their choice,” Lawson said in a statement. “DeSantis is wrong for enacting this Republican-leaning map that is in clear violation of the U.S. and state constitutions.”
DeSantis’ proposal sparked a backlash by Black House members. However, the Republican governor’s office says it plans to appeal the decision, which has been
“As Judge Smith implied, these complex constitutional matters of law were always going to be decided at the appellate level,” DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said in an email. “We will undoubtedly be appealing his ruling and are confident the constitutional map enacted by the Florida legislature and signed into law passes legal muster.”
However, Smith writes:
“The district that has since been enacted and signed into law by the governor does disperse 367,000 African American votes between four different districts,” Smith told both sides. “The African American population is nowhere near a plurality or a majority.”