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.