OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Florida Supreme Court delivered a gigantic win to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans in the Sunshine State.
“Florida’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request for a hearing over the state’s controversial new congressional map that eliminates a majority Black district, putting an end—for now—to one of the most high-profile redistricting challenges heading into the midterms,” Forbes reported.
“A slew of voting rights groups suing the state wanted the court to consider reinstating an injunction blocking the map,” the report added. “Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith issued an injunction last month blocking the map, ruling the proposal to move the 5th Congressional District out of a majority Black region of north Florida violated the Fair Districts Amendments of the state constitution. A state appellate court quickly moved to overturn the injunction, a decision the state Supreme Court chose to uphold.”
“The court did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit, but its decision to not issue an injunction effectively kills any chance of overturning the map before the midterms,” the report continued.
Conservative commentator Greg Price noted on Twitter how big of a deal this is for Republicans going into crucial midterms in November.
“The Florida Supreme Court is leaving DeSantis’ congressional maps in place that create four new GOP-leaning districts. They will be the maps used this November,” Price wrote.
BREAKING: The Florida Supreme Court is leaving DeSantis' congressional maps in place that create four new GOP-leaning districts. They will be the maps used this November.
Another fat L for Marc Elias.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) June 2, 2022
Last week, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Republicans’ new redistricting law is legal and will make it more difficult for the only Kansas congressional delegate to win re-election.
The outlet continued:
The court’s opinion was two paragraphs long, saying only that the voters and voting rights group challenging the map “have not prevailed on their claims” that the map violated the state constitution and that a full opinion would come later.
The brief decision was written by Justice Caleb Stegall, who is seen as the most conservative of the court’s seven justices, five of whom were appointed by Democratic governors. During arguments from attorneys on Monday, he questioned whether anyone could clearly define improper partisan gerrymandering.
The report noted that lawsuits over newly redrawn congressional districts have flooded courtrooms all over the United States as Republicans seek to recapture the House majority this year as well as the evenly-divided Senate. Maps in at least 17 states have led to lawsuits, the Brennan Center for Justice noted.
Inside Elections reporter Jacob Rubaskin noted in a tweet the situation in Kansas was another blow for Dems: “The redistricting hits keep on coming for Democrats. The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the congressional map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature that makes Sharice Davids’ 3rd District more difficult for her. A lower court had struck down the map.”
The redistricting hits keep on coming for Democrats. The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the congressional map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature that makes Sharice Davids’ 3rd District more difficult for her. A lower court had struck down the map.https://t.co/9Mt0NjazHD
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) May 18, 2022
“In the past, congressional district lines have been reviewed by federal judges and not the state Supreme Court. The conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in 2019 that complaints about partisan gerrymandering are political issues and not for the federal courts to resolve,” POLITICO noted.
“It’s elected legislators who are best positioned to determine how to balance out the competing interests,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, told reporters after the state Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this week.
State Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes, a Kansas City-area Democrat, said Republicans had “disrespected, ignored and gaslit engaged voters from the very start.”
Regarding the Kansas map, POLITICO noted: “Republican legislative leaders argued that based on 2020 election results, Davids still could win her new district. They said their map was a fair way to rebalance the population in each of the state’s congressional districts to make them as equal as possible after 10 years of demographic shifts.”