Supreme Court Upholds New Senate District Maps

April 28, 2012

The Florida Supreme Court upheld a second draft of new maps for state Senate districts in a splintered decision Friday, clearing one of the remaining barriers for the plan to go into effect for this fall’s elections.

The court’s ruling, which came after the justices voided the first Senate plan approved by the Legislature, was a victory for the Senate’s Republican leadership and removed the prospect that justices would draw the map themselves as part of the state’s once-a-decade redistricting process. The court upheld the House map in the earlier decision.

“Pursuant to this Court’s directive, the Legislature adopted a revised Senate apportionment plan that sought to remedy the constitutional infirmities apparent on the face of the invalidated Senate plan,” the court wrote. “In this proceeding, we conclude that the opponents have failed to demonstrate that the revised Senate plan as a whole or with respect to any individual district violates Florida’s constitutional requirements.”

Three justices who had helped form the 5-2 majority scrapping the first Senate plan — Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Jorge Labarga — fully supported the decision. Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justice Ricky Polston, who dissented in the first case, supported the court’s result.

Lawmakers involved in drawing the lines hailed the ruling.

“We were pleased that the court approved our amended plan, and that elections can go forward,” said Senate Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

Democratic Party spokeswoman Brannon Jordan said the party held the GOP’s legislative majority “accountable” by challenging both maps and having the first thrown out by the justices.

“While today’s ruling raises serious concerns, we will continue our efforts to hold this Republican-led legislature accountable to the will of the people — something they have consistently ignored throughout this process,” she said.

By The News Service of Florida


3 Responses to “Supreme Court Upholds New Senate District Maps”

  1. Tuf on May 2nd, 2012 6:12 am

    Not really gerrymandering in the deepest sense. The old boundaries, especially Senator Gaetz’s, fit the definition MUCH more closely.

    From an elections standpoint, Senator Evers’ strategy for reelection must change dramitically. The population center of his district is probably near UWF or the GE plant. The rural themes of previous campaigns (allowing tractors to drive down roads, farms on yard signs) will not likely win over the election marks on ballots in precincts like Perdido Key or Cordova Park.

    Senator Peaden was a medical doctor, and that allowed him to win in urban precincts. Evers will need to convince a much more urbanized electorate that a farm supply store owner will focus on urban issues in order to win. One better known office seeker from These urban areas will, no doubt, put up quite a challenge in the urban precincts. There may not be enough people in rural precincts to overcome the urban votes.

  2. rod on April 28th, 2012 2:20 pm

    The Democrats would have tried to do the same thing if they were in power.

  3. Chris on April 28th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Gerrymandering at it’s finest.