Aramis Ayala charges Ashley Moody is ignoring oversight role in redistricting
Aramis Ayala gets the nod from a pair of national advocacy groups.

Aramis Ayala
'The Attorney General cannot stand quiet while the Legislature has abdicated its responsibility.'

As the Legislature considers a congressional map drawn up by Gov. Ron DeSantis that could face court challenges, Democrat Aramis Ayala is accusing Attorney General Ashley Moody of abdicating her legal oversight role.

Ayala is a former State Attorney from Orlando who wants to take Moody’s job in the General Election. Ayala contends that in the most controversial of government actions over the past couple of years, Floridians have lacked an Attorney General’s voice to weigh in on matters that become legal battles.

Now, Ayala is turning her umbrage toward the highly unusual course that Florida’s congressional redistricting process has taken, together with the widespread speculation it will end up in court, with either the Florida Supreme Court or federal courts — or both — trying to sort out Florida’s congressional districts, as happened in the last federal reapportionment.

“The Attorney General cannot stand quiet while the Legislature has abdicated its responsibility,” she said, referring to the Legislature’s deferment to DeSantis to provide a map. “So yes, you are dealing with separation of powers.”

“Not only does the Attorney General have the right to institute proceedings, she has a duty to do that,” Ayala said.

Moody’s re-election campaign did not respond late last week to Ayala’s comments.

Ayala said the Attorney General should have issued at least an advisory opinion. Ayala also said she would have declined to defend any lawsuits that come from approval of the map, because her advisory opinion would find the process violated Florida’s Constitution.

“If you put that out front from the very beginning, No. 1, there is an advisory opinion that says, ‘This map is unconstitutional,’ that says, ‘This behavior is a violation of the separation of powers. This behavior violates the Fair Districts amendment in our constitution.’ And as a result of these violations, I, as Attorney General, will decline to defend this behavior.”

Ayala was herself a highly controversial State Attorney during her term from 2017-20, and her battles with then-Gov. Rick Scott drew national attention and attracted widespread criticism.

Now, after an aborted run for Congress, Ayala is going for Moody’s job. So are Democratic lawyers Daniel Uhlfelder of Santa Rosa Beach and Jim Lewis of Fort Lauderdale, and the Aug. 23 Democratic Primary Election will sort out the Democratic nominee.

Ayala began her Attorney General campaign in March charging that Moody, who is completing her first term and seeking a second in November, was a no-show as the Legislature considered numerous controversial bills likely to get challenged in court — and some that have, such as last year’s big voting bill gutted by a judge last month.

“She has been all too silent and not used her power to represent the people, but instead has used her position to become the Governor’s attorney,” Ayala charged.

“And that to me is extremely appalling because the Attorney General is not the attorney for the Governor. She is the people’s attorney. She may be legal advisor to many,” she added, “but as the people’s attorney, her job is to protect the people against unconstitutional issues and bills.”

Last updated on April 18, 2022

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


9 comments

  • Beth

    April 18, 2022 at 7:09 am

    She must still be busy spending tax payer money to try to prove trump won the election. She is just another corrupt cult member who is helping DeSantis in his quest to destroy democracy. She needs to be voted out.

  • TOm

    April 18, 2022 at 8:42 am

    In 2015, the current congressional maps were drawn by the courts, not the legislature. I guess you only complain when they get the results you want.

    This map will be approved by the legislature, as required by the US Constitution.

  • Mel

    April 18, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Should I be surprised Ms. Ayala has not voiced a similar opinion with regards to the recent gambling legislation and subsequent court fight?

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    April 18, 2022 at 10:07 am

    This from the person who refused to enforce death penalties!

  • It's Complicated

    April 18, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    The Attorney General is the State of Florida’s Attorney, not the populist people’s attorney. There is a difference. It is AG’s job to enforce Florida Law and protect the Constitution, not to enforce political whims and winds, particularly if they are contrary to Florida Statutes or the Florida Constitution.

    The real issue, IMHO, is that what the Feds may like with respect to Congressional Districts (in terms of the Federal Voting Rights Act), and what the Florida Constitution Fair Districts Amendment requires may well be in conflict. There is no federal law against gerrymandering, but it is a clear and unambiguous violation of the Florida Constitution. Congressman Al Lawson’s FL-5 district does NOT pass the straight face test of the Florida Constitution Fair Districts Amendment, and to say it does, is not being intellectually honest.

    • Rob Smith, Jr.

      April 19, 2022 at 8:08 pm

      Well written. I agree.

  • Claude Kirk the younger

    April 20, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    @Complicated
    Great wisdom in your words!
    Just imagian the deep doo doo Florida would be in had Gillium been elected Gov. and Ms. Ayala was our Atty Gen…yeah it would be Floridafornia. DeSantis already factored in the left will cry to leftist sympathic Fed. JUDGE Hinkle about the redistricting…no problem…in the end DeSantis will prevail. Hey its a process its how government is done.

    • Only by an inch

      April 22, 2022 at 9:23 am

      Gilliam is a saint compared.

      I’m glad COVID is getting rid of all the voters that voted for Ron

  • Job Done

    April 23, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    The legislature did not abdicate its responsibility; it passed a new map by healthy margins. Merely because it came from the Governor’s office is no reason for the legislature to reject the map. Ron DeSantis had the same right as did any citizen to propose a map (many did). He offered one weeks ago and and the legislature eventually passed it. Ms. Ayala knows this is the case. Democrats use mendacity as a vehicle on which their hateful passion rolls through our politics.

Comments are closed.


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