Could GOP lawmakers push for bill banning judges from meddling in redistricting?

Florida Supreme Court
Florida Supreme Court

Three years ago, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state Legislature’s redistricting of legislative and Congressional districts was unconstitutional — ultimately allowing new voting maps to be drawn by a coalition led by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida.

The major changes led to Democrats adding two members to their Congressional delegation in 2016.

The next round of redistricting will take place in 2022, and both Democrats and Republicans will by vying to reshape the political landscape in the Sunshine State.

With their huge advantage in the House currently (79-41), Republicans will likely remain in control of that chamber. But the majority in the Senate could change, depending on what happens in the next several election cycles.

The makeup of the chambers is significant because the party in power controls the redistricting efforts.

However, the Legislature could pass a bill before 2022 that ensures that judges in Florida would not be able to interfere in redrawing the maps (The redrawing creates new legislative and Congressional voting districts).

Last week in New Orleans, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) convened for its annual conference, where corporate lobbyists mingle with state lawmakers from around the country to craft what is known as “model” legislation that public officials are encouraged to bring back to their states to introduce to their own legislatures.

Republican lawmakers from Florida usually attend, and one of the bills up for discussion would urge “courts at all levels to respect the Constitutional Framers’ intent that matters pertaining to electoral districts be decided by state legislative, rather judicial, means.”

The model policy goes on to declare that “the courts should refrain from judicial overreach in the form of imposing redistricting schemes which will have the effect of subverting the republican process intended by America’s Founding Father.”

Read the proposed policy on judges and redistricting in full below:

DRAFT RESOLUTION REAFFIRMING THE RIGHT OF STATE LEGISLATURES TO DETERMINE ELECTORAL DISTRICTS

WHEREAS, in chapter XI of the Second Treatise, Locke wrote; “The first and fundamental positive law of all commonwealths, is the establishing of the legislative power;” and

WHEREAS, according to Article IV Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence”; and

WHEREAS, Article I Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but Congress may at any time make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of chusing Senators;” and

WHEREAS, the intervention of state supreme courts to redistrict congressional district maps violates the fundamental right of the residents of a state to republican self-government; and

WHEREAS, state supreme courts unlawfully enacting judicial amendments strips state legislators of the power, granted under the United States Constitution, to draw congressional district state lines.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the legislature of [Insert State] hereby claims sovereignty under the Article IV Section 4; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution shall serve notice to federal and state courts of our demand to abide by the system explicitly written in the Constitution of the United States.

 

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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