Lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of Common Cause Florida, FairDistricts Now, the Florida Conference of the NAACP and a group of Florida voters challenging the state’s current congressional map following the release of 2020 census data. The complaint argues that, given gridlock between the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over the new congressional map, there is a high likelihood that new congressional districts based on 2020 census data will not be enacted in time for the 2022 election cycle. Due to this likely impasse, the plaintiffs ask the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida to enact a new congressional map that adheres to the constitutional principle of one person, one vote and contains 28 districts (one more than the current map based on 2010 census data).
After the Florida Legislature passed a congressional map that DeSantis signed into law, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in order to challenge the newly-enacted map. The plaintiffs allege that DeSantis’ map intentionally discriminates against Black voters by “cracking” communities in order to diminish their ability to elect candidates of their choice in northern Florida in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments. On Nov. 8, a three-judge panel denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but dismissed DeSantis as a defendant. Litigation is ongoing and a trial is set for Sept. 26, 2023. The sole issue that will be litigated at trial is whether or not the elimination of the Black-performing 5th Congressional District violates the 14th and 15th Amendments’ prohibition on intentional racial discrimination.