Democrats stand up for ‘Fair Districts’ amendment in court

Posted on: March 2nd, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

In a motion filed yesterday, state Sen. Arthenia Joyner and state Reps. Janet Cruz, Luis Garcia, Joe Gibbons and Perry Thurston (all Democrats) have asked to join the lawsuit challenging Amendment 6 — one of the two “Fair Districts” amendments that limit the legislature’s power to gerrymander districts — in order to defend it. #

The lawsuit in question was filed by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, the day after Fair Districts Amendments 5 and 6 passed in a statewide vote with more than 60 percent support. According to documents filed by Brown and Diaz-Balart, they consider challenging the constitutionality of Amendment 6 one of their “official duties” in Congress. #

Since that filing, a handful of groups have asked to participate in the lawsuit: The Florida House of Representatives moved to join the lawsuit to help defeat Amendment 6; the ACLU of Florida has asked to join in order to protect it. #

The newest filing by the five Democrats highlights the role of the Florida House in the lawsuit: #

The Florida Legislature must follow the lawmaking process set forth in the Florida Constitution … while crafting Congressional redistricting legislation. Plaintiffs’ and the Florida House of Representatives, however, represent to this Court that the Florida Legislature is free to ignore the procedures and standards set forth in the Florida Constitution. Plaintiffs and the Florida House of Representatives are wrong and, if they succeed in this action, will subject the State Legislators to a flawed legislative process. #

“Florida Democrats will not sit back and allow the will of nearly 63 percent of Floridians to be frustrated or delayed by those who simply seek to deny Floridians fair elections in fair districts,” Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith said in a press release announcing the action. “I applaud our Democratic legislators for their efforts to protect the standards of fairness Floridians enshrined in our Constitution.” #

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