Plaintiffs ask court to reconsider whether Gov. DeSantis had racist motives drawing Florida’s congressional map

Attorneys challenging the map called for new lines to be drawn — for the 2026 elections.

Plaintiffs who challenged Gov. Ron DeSantis’ congressional map in federal court want Judges to reconsider a ruling upholding the cartography. But those challenging the lines abandoned any chance at settling the matter before congressional elections this year.

Common Cause Florida and other plaintiffs filed a 38-page motion for reconsideration, asking Judges to revisit the Governor’s motives when he inserted himself into the redistricting process by vetoing maps drawn by the Legislature and having his Office send its own cartography to the Legislature for approval.

“A map that moved through the legislative process with intent to discriminate against the voters cannot stand,” said Amy Keith, Common Cause Florida Executive Director.

“We know full well the Governor exercised his legislative powers by drafting and introducing his own map, vetoing a map not to his liking, and participating in the redistricting process to an unusual extent. And we know that the Governor was acting with race as a motivating factor. We are asking the court to reconsider so that Black voters can exercise their right to fair representation in Congress.”

The brief calls for federal Judges to direct the Legislature “to draw a new map in time for the 2026 congressional election.” The latest filing came two days before an April 26 deadline for congressional candidates to qualify for the 2024 election cycle.

In March, Judges upheld the map and ruled that the Legislature did not act with race as a factor. A three-Judge panel offered conflicting opinions whether the same could be said of DeSantis. U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote in a concurring opinion that the Governor “drew, proposed, and submitted the Enacted Map with race as a motivating factor.”

But the three Judges ultimately agreed that it was the Legislature’s motives at question with the map, and that plaintiffs failed to prove that lawmakers violated the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Plaintiffs in a separate state case before the Florida Supreme Court argued that the map designed and signed by DeSantis violates the Fair Districts amendment to the state constitution, which prohibits the diminishment of minority communities’ ability to elect a U.S. Representative of their choice.

The map dismantled a North Florida district where a Black Democratic lawmaker, former U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, consistently won election. Under the new map, Lawson lost to U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, a Republican. Under the map put in place last election cycle, every North Florida district is represented by a White Republican.

Plaintiffs in federal court argue that Judges should reconsider the ruling and find that DeSantis acting with “racially discriminatory intent” was enough to corrupt the process.

“The Court did not conduct a holistic analysis of the actions of the State — the entire lawmaking process, encompassing both the Governor and the Legislature — leading up to the Enacted Map,” attorneys argue in the new brief.

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].


  • frank papcin

    April 25, 2024 at 10:04 am

    tell me I’m wrong when I think that democrats draw their lines on making sure more democrats are spread out to give them the advantage in wining elections?
    just look at the district maps and give me any other excuse for their wandering around different sections of the same counties & even cities

    • It's Complicated

      April 25, 2024 at 3:59 pm

      That is correct. Democrats Gerrymandered all eleven redistricting exercises since Civil War Reconstruction that they controlled. After Jim Crow Laws were dismantled and the Civil Rights Act was passed (and as Black voters migrated to the Democratic Party), and until the 1992 Redistricting Session, Democrats routinely drew district lines to utilize reliable urban Black voters to win suburban and rural seats for (read: White) Democrats. That practice elected very few minority Democrats. This changed in 1992 when Cubans in the then-minority Republican Party approached Minority members of the Florida House and Senate with a ‘draw minority districts first’ plan. The Democratic leadership hated it, and did everything they could to derail it. The Florida House and Senate ultimately agreed to Senate and Congressional maps, and a 3-judge panel drew the Florida House maps (inspired by the ‘draw minority districts first’ map). The Florida House, Senate, and Congressional delegation immediately grew in minority representation in the 1992 Election. Florida elected three Black members of Congress (Meek, Hastings, Brown) – the first since Civil War Reconstruction. The GOP took majorities in the Florida Senate in 1994, the Florida House in 1996, and have held both since. GOP gained the majority of the Florida Congressional Delegation in 1989, even with the Democratic Party drawn maps of 1982.

  • Dont Say FLA

    April 25, 2024 at 4:10 pm

    Plaintiffs ask court to reconsider whether Gov. DeSantis had racist motives?

    Well if it wasn’t anti-gay anti-trans anti-drag-queen, then yeah, probably racism that motivated the little guy. It could have been Jill’s racism. She wears the pants, after all.

Comments are closed.


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