Court Defies All Logic With Redistricting Decision

Cross the Street. Leave The District
Cross the Street. Leave The District

My colleague Dave Trotter has done an excellent job of disecting this ruling and discussing ways to mobilize Democrats in the future.  While there are close to a dozen new districts that can be disputed under the Fair Districts law, let’s focus on just two: Districts 6 and 8.

Earlier this week I wrote about Districts 6 & 8:
“With a half million residents, Democratic leaning Volusia County has had a resident Senator since before the 1968 Florida Constitution reformed the State Senate. For the past decade the county has been represented by moderate Republican Evelyn Lynn. While the majority of the population in the new District 8 resides in Volusia County, it has been clearly drawn with the intent of taking in Marion County Republicans and possibly being accessible for an Ocala based Republican to run and win in.  Volusia has been split strategically in such a way that it could be represented by Republicans from St John’s County and from Marion County in the Senate.”

Today we had a dissenting opinion from two justices citing this very situation as a reason to find the map unconstitutional
  “I would find that redrawn District 8 has clearly been drawn with the intent to favor a political party to the detriment of a racial minority community,” Wrote Justice E.C. Perry. (Joined by Justice Quince)

As Perry notes, the drawing of Senate District 8 was done for strategic and highly partisan reasons by the Republican majority. The new District 6 will likely elect a St. Johns or Putnam County-based Republican that represents a point of view that is different than most Volusia residents. The same is very possible in District 8.

District 6 runs up the Atlantic coast all the way to Ponte Vedre Beach, one of the richest and most conservative places in the entire state. District 8 runs all the way to the northern portion of  heavily Republican Marion County. The boundary between District 6 and District 8 is right in the middle of the African-American community of Daytona Beach. This community, and the overlapping working class Democratic leaning white areas within Volusia County have been strategically split between the two districts in order to dilute their impact. District 8, with some African-American portions of Ocala and many of the working class Democratic leaning areas south of Daytona Beach, is more likely to elect a Democrat than any district containing St Johns County, so the decision to split the African-American vote here has cost the Democrats a chance to win a seat and diluted the impact of minority voters. Both are out of bounds under the Fair Districts Amendment.

More from Justice Perry’s dissenting opinion:

“I agree with the Coalition‘s assertions that the partisan skew is not the result of a ‘natural packing effect’ of urban Democrats, but of systematic choices by the Legislature to favor the Republican Party,” Perry wrote.
“Additionally, I agree with the NAACP that the redrawn district is detrimental to black voters in Daytona Beach and that that community ―accustomed to being represented by the candidate of its choice, would be stranded in a district in which it most certainly will not be able to elect its candidate of choice or one responsive to its interests and needs.”
The precedent has been set. In the future, political parties can cite the Supreme Court decision of April 27, 2012 as the reason they are splitting minority communities and manipulating district lines for political gain. In hindsight, having sent a clear message and mandate to the State Senate last month, perhaps the Supreme Court did not have the political will nor the stomach for a prolonged fight with entrenched politicians looking after their own self interest.

All logic has been defied with this decision. The court has allowed the will of the voters and the principle of fairness to be tossed out the window and has ushered in a new era of protecting politicians and partisan gerrymandering.

24 thoughts on “Court Defies All Logic With Redistricting Decision”

  1. I’m very happy that we will have Senator Joe Abruzzo and that we have gotten Bogdanoff into a plus 10 pts Democratic seat. We also have a new seat in Palm Beach which Mack Bernard or Kevin Rader will win.

    Abruzzo will be a great Senator, and Sachs can continue serving the people by running against Bogdanoff.

  2. The race has not even started. I think Sachs is running against Abruzzo. Don’t kid yourself. Bernard is set and DOJ has not given the ok. Once their records and ties are exposed it won’t be Abruzzo even though I like him.

  3. The problem here is obvious. The drawing of districts 6 & 7 & 8 was all related. The idea was to dilute Gainesville and Daytona Beach’s ability to swing current GOP held seats to the Democratic column. So creatively using the three districts to form a jigsaw puzzle between Alachua, Clay, Putnam, St Johns, Flagler, Marion and Volusia Counties, they cut all 3 exactly as they had to to make each as Republican as possible. Draw fair districts and 2 of 3 go Dem without much of a fight in a presidential year which 2012 is. So to claim as the court seems to have that the process was not political is absurd.

    The court however found by a 5-2 decision that these three districts were okay. The dissent is very strong and well written, but racially polarizes everyone because the reality is the two black justices dissented and the rest voted for the map.

  4. You Ds do nothing but whine. Elections have consequences. You have consistently lost competitive elections throughout the state. The Republicans have control and now have drawn fair maps and all you do is complain.

  5. Toni you are correct the Ds whine. The Ds have not planned for anything. Between candidates, what they stand for and the GOTV. These maps are not good based on the law. They will fight them and again we will be stuck with awful representation in Tallahassee to D.C.

  6. Pretending some Democrats had no role in drawing this map is unfair. Many gave their input, and the map reflected that. Jeremy Ring is happy with his new district. We have a district for Joe Abruzzo to run in and while he voted against the plan, most in Palm Beach are happy he will be able to run.

    Word on the street is the Democrats fought so hard because Smith wanted his own seat. The coastal district they complain about and that you have echoed complaints about it plus 10 Democrat. It will elect Sachs or another Denocrat and is not a gerrymander for the Republicans.

  7. Morning Star,

    Check your spelling and yes you should be paranoid. You have not seen anything yet. Abruzzo ….say hi to your motha for me……Joey is in trouble. Go talk to Dave.

  8. Word on the street and on the record is that Ring was also happy with the budget…..since he voted for it. Shake up in PBC and Broward!

  9. Mandy-a bit biased against Italians? Rep Abruzzo is not on Jersey Shore. After all, he isn’t built well or overly tan!

  10. The whole map is a mess. I have no idea how they ended up with this map. The House map is unconstitutional also if you ask me.

  11. The Democrats screwed this up themselves and are going to pick up House seats. Stop whining,

  12. Concerned Democrat

    I am not sure what you mean Morning Star? Cut a deal when we had no leverage? Openly defy a constitutional change that our activists and politicians supporters overwhelmingly? What exactly do you propose we should have done to change the outcome? How exactly do we change this inevitably partisan decision by the court? We had one map tossed because of our sound strategy and legal arguments. That did not happen ten years ago. The Senate and AGs office used being in power ti slow and stall the process and maybe gave those like Pariente pause about throwing out another map so late. Since the GOP leadership waited to pass the maps until this year in February they allowed the clock to run and played cloak and dagger games the whole time to stall and muddy the process. I do not thing anything else could have been done considering how the deck was stacked against us.

  13. I’m not going to divulge my contacts but the blueprint was there after the first court ruling for the Democrats to win this. Smith and the party blew it.

  14. Smith fault. Doubtful. What is for sure is that regardless if you are talking about county, state or federal…the party should be prepared for a shake up.

  15. I mean, I’m not a lawyer, but isn’t the Supreme Court the highest appellate court and what they say is final?