Ashley Moody sides with Gov. DeSantis in redistricting case

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Her office filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court on Friday.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court supporting the congressional map signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The brief, filed jointly with the Secretary of State’s office, adopts the argument that the state should leave behind districts drawn with race as a motivator.

“The race-based sorting of voters is an ‘odious’ enterprise,” the brief contends. “For that reason, Florida enacted a map that disengages from the ‘sordid business’ of ‘divvying us up by race.’ This Court should not force Florida to reengage, especially when doing so threatens to upend the status quo this close to upcoming elections.”

DeSantis’ Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Kelly crafted a map (P 0109) ultimately passed in Special Session and signed by DeSantis in March. That map controversially dismantles a North Florida district represented now by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat. Black Voters Matter and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit, backed by former Attorney General Eric Holder, that contended DeSantis’ map diminishes the power of Black communities to elect a candidate of their choice. That would violate the Fair Districts amendment to the Florida Constitution.

Plaintiffs convinced Leon Circuit Judge Layne Smith of that earlier this month. In a hearing dealing exclusively with North Florida, Smith ordered the DeSantis map to be replaced with one submitted by Harvard professor Stephen Ansolabehere. But the Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal shot down that order on procedural grounds, saying Smith could not make a determination about the constitutionality of the map based on a three-hour preliminary hearing and could only make such a judgment after a full trial. The appellate court said any consideration of arguments on the Fair Districts amendment would be inappropriate at this time.

Still, the state’s brief, filed hours after the latest opining from the appellate court, deals with the argument head on. The Attorney General’s Office adopts the DeSantis argument that the prior construction of Lawson’s district, introduced by the Florida Supreme Court after a 2015 decision, effectively violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

DeSantis vetoed cartography approved by the Legislature during the regular Legislative Session on the groups it inappropriately drew a minority access seat in North Florida, but that there was no compelling state interest in doing so.

“Petitioners have not come close to demonstrating on the merits that the Legislature was required to enact a racially gerrymandered district in North Florida,” the state’s brief argues.

It goes on to argue any assertion the federal Voting Rights Act would require preservation of the seat would nullified by a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Of note, Moody’s office took no issue with legislative maps approved by the Legislature that also protected minority seats throughout the state. The cartography governing state House and Senate elections goes through a different process and does not go through DeSantis for approval or veto. Rather, those maps go directly to the Florida Supreme Court for review. The high court signed off on those maps in early March.

Of note, the crafting of the House map was overseen by then-House Legislative Redistricting Subcommittee Chair Cord Byrd. But Byrd objected to the Legislature’s initial redistricting plan for similar reasons cited by the Governor in his veto, and he since has been tapped as DeSantis’ new Secretary of State. Byrd served as the primary defendant in the redistricting lawsuit.

The latest brief doesn’t make mention of the state legislative maps, but regardless said prioritization of racial diminishment in a district where that wasn’t justified will not meet strict scrutiny requirements laid out in federal precedent.

“Consider the purported right they seek to vindicate: the right, on account of race, to call the electoral shots in their district for all time, such that any future district in North Florida must be drawn so that they alone enjoy the constitutional right to elect their preferred candidate,” the brief states. “On balance, that view disserves the greater public interest, offends basic democratic precepts, and is unworthy of a temporary injunction.”

2022-685_response_57680_response by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


8 comments

  • Tom

    May 28, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Holder. Who gave us the traitorous Marc Rich pardon from slick Willis’s presidency. Also, the guns to Mexican cartel and the tea party IRS Lois Lerner scandal. Just horrendous.

    In connection with co conspirator Marc Elias from Clinton bundling, dirty tricks campaign. Fake Russia hoax and steele dossier. Scurrilous

    These are your go to conniving peeps!

    • Matthew Lusk

      May 31, 2022 at 2:42 pm

      This is not a black/white partisan battle. Only in the corners of Al Lawson’s mind. This is the nonfederal reserve banking crime syndicate protecting a congressional seat. Counterfeiting fake credit dollars is a ten trillion dollar a year racket. Ya think the indulgers are not going to invest in their front men? Of course they will put their top operatives in action.

      • Matthew Lusk

        May 31, 2022 at 3:04 pm

        Use a valid e-mail and my comments get posted right away. Is it just a conspiracy theory my email gets bannned by F.P.? My comments to potent and shatters the narrative?

        • Matthew Lusk

          May 31, 2022 at 3:11 pm

          The photo is not me, it’s that Marxist agitprop guy “what’s his name” with the long hair and lesbian chinny-chin-chin whiskers.

  • Chet

    May 30, 2022 at 7:55 am

    What happened to the women of the Republican Party. We used to have all the hot women now the only hot women in the party are all named trump. We get what the dems used to get. Fat faces, linebacker builds, wrecked tits.

    • Claude Kirk the younger

      May 30, 2022 at 2:30 pm

      Good observation Chet. I miss Pam Bondy too.

  • Christina Mathis

    May 31, 2022 at 6:19 am

    What happened to the women of the Republican Party. We used to have all the hot women now the only hot women in the party are all named trump. We get what the dems used to get. Fat faces, linebacker builds, wrecked tits.

  • Christina Mathis

    May 31, 2022 at 6:22 am

    What happened to the women of the Republican Party. We used to have all the hot women now the only hot women in the party are all named trump. We get what the dems used to get. Fat faces, linebacker builds, wrecked tits.

    What happened to the women of the Republican Party. We used to have all the hot women now the only hot women in the party are all named trump. We get what the dems used to get. Fat faces, linebacker builds, wrecked tits.

Comments are closed.


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