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The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to consider a challenge to a congressional map backed by DeSantis

Supreme Court of Florida building in Tallahassee, Florida

Florida’s Supreme Court is set to review a challenge against a state congressional map backed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. The map, implemented post the 2020 census, has faced criticism for dismantling a Black-majority district. On Wednesday, it was disclosed that voting rights groups have taken the matter to the state Supreme Court after the First District Court of Appeal of Florida upheld the constitutionality of the redistricting plan last month. A lower court had earlier ruled that the new map diluted Black voting power, a decision overturned by the appeals court, stating the plaintiffs failed to present evidence supporting the claim of a singular cohesive community in the earlier version of the 5th Congressional District. The map sponsored by DeSantis in 2022 led to a shift of Black voters from the old 5th District, represented by Black Democrat Rep. Al Lawson, to communities represented by White Republicans. Republicans currently hold 20 of Florida’s 28 US House seats under this map. The Florida Supreme Court has until February 28 to file an initial brief, with Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd given 30 days to respond. The court, which leans more conservative since the last consideration of this issue, has five of its seven sitting justices appointed by DeSantis. Justice Charles Canady, linked to Republican state Rep. Jennifer Canady, recused himself from the new redistricting case. A separate federal case arguing that the map violates the US Constitution is pending. This case is part of numerous ongoing legal battles over redistricting, with potential implications for the balance of power in the US House of Representatives post the next year’s elections, where Republicans currently hold a narrow majority.

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