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Florida appeals court reinstates DeSantis’s congressional map

A new congressional map signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was reinstated by a Florida appeals court on Friday, reversing a circuit court judge’s decision against it last week.

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Judge Layne Smith’s temporary injunction against the map had “a high likelihood” of being “unlawful.”

“Based on a preliminary review, the court has determined there is a high likelihood that the temporary injunction is unlawful, because by awarding a preliminary remedy to the appellees’ on their claim, the order ‘frustrated the status quo, rather than preserved it,’” the appeals court said in its ruling.

At issue is a new congressional district map signed by DeSantis that got rid of a congressional district spanning from Tallahassee to Jacksonville that is historically Black and is currently held by Rep. Al Lawson (D). That district had previously been kept in place by the map initially approved by the state legislature. 

Last week, Smith ruled against the new map, saying, “I am finding the enacted map is unconstitutional under the Fair District Amendment because it diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect candidates of their choice.” 

The state appealed Smith’s ruling shortly thereafter, and the appeals court’s decision was lauded by the executive office of the governor on Friday.

“We’re pleased with the First District Court of Appeal’s decision to reinstate the automatic stay. As the First District correctly noted, there is a high likelihood that the circuit court’s temporary injunction is unlawful,” the executive office of the governor said in a statement.

“To avoid uncertainty and confusion in the upcoming 2022 primary and general elections, it’s important to move forward expeditiously to implement the congressional map passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.”

Lawson, in his own statement, said he believed the issue would be taken up with the Florida Supreme Court and reversed. 

“While I’m disappointed in today’s decision by the appellate court to reinstate DeSantis’ unconstitutional map, I am confident that the Florida Supreme Court will soon take over this issue and protect the rights of Black voters in North Florida,” the Democratic congressman said. 

“The trial judge was correct to protect minority voting rights by following prior Supreme Court rulings and maintaining the current status quo for North Florida. I am confident that the Florida Supreme Court will undo today’s action and reinstate constitutional districts for North Florida in time for the 2022 election.”

Tags Al Lawson appeals court Congressional maps Florida Redistricting Ron DeSantis
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