Double whammy for Florida Dems as DOJ, local court green light new maps

The Department of Justice gave its approval Monday to Florida's new congressional map, while a circuit court rejected Democrats' injunction request — a double whammy for Democrats who argue the new map unfairly favors Republicans.

The Obama administration's pre-clearance was required under the Voting Rights Act, which requires that states with a history of racial discrimination have their maps approved to ensure that minorities are not denied proper representation.

"The Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the specific changes" to the maps, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez wrote Monday in a letter to members of Florida's state government.

Democrats are expected to gain a few seats under the new map, which includes two new districts created after the 2010 U.S. Census as a result of rapid population growth in Florida.

But Republicans will likely maintain the upper hand. Nineteen of the 27 members of the congressional delegation are Republicans in Florida, a state that had 600,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in 2010.


Federal court draws NY congressional map

A panel of federal judges put in place a court-drawn map for New York's congressional districts on Monday, blasting state lawmakers as derelicts who have failed to fulfill their obligations.

New York lost two congressional districts after the 2010 census due to slow population growth, forcing the legislature to redraw the maps and eliminate two seats. But the Democratic-controlled state Assembly and GOP-controlled state Senate deadlocked for months, unable to agree on a proposal for where the new lines should sit.

A federal court intervened in early March, urging lawmakers to break through their gridlock while developing a contingency plan of its own. With a June 26 primary rapidly approaching, a panel of three federal judges decided it had waited long enough, and on Monday adopted its own map.

"In prior redistricting challenges, New York has avoided such a wholesale transfer of state legislative power to the federal courts through last-minute enactments of new redistricting plans," the judges wrote in their decision. "In this case, however, New York has been willing to let even the last minute pass and to abdicate the whole of its redistricting power to a reluctant federal court."


Court takes over redistricting in NY

Control of redistricting in New York will be handed to a federal court after state lawmakers were unable to agree on a new proposal for the state's congressional lines.

Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly and GOP-controlled state Senate have been working for almost a year to draft a suitable map, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) threatened to veto the version they submitted weeks ago, calling it overly partisan.

With lawmakers expected to be unable to meet a Monday night deadline to propose a new map, a panel of three federal judges put in place a process for the courts to draw the new lines. U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann has been named as the special master and ordered the panel to develop a new proposal by Wednesday, the Times Union reported.

New York is losing two congressional seats in 2012 due to population growth over the past decade that was slower than in other states.