State of Florida

Florida Miami City Commission Redistricting Challenge

Grace v. City of Miami

Lawsuit filed by Grove Rights and Community Equity (GRACE), Engage Miami, three Florida branches of the NAACP and residents against the City of Miami, Florida over its city commission map drawn with 2020 census data. The plaintiffs allege that race was used as the predominant factor in creating the city commission districts without a compelling state interest, thereby creating a racial gerrymander in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs ask that the five commission districts be declared unconstitutional racial gerrymanders and preliminarily and permanently block the city from enacting the plan.

On May 23, 2023, the court granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and blocked the current map from being used in the upcoming November 2023 elections. The court held that the map likely violates the U.S. Constitution. On May 31, 2023, the defendant appealed this decision to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On July 13, the City of Miami dismissed its appeal.

After the City of Miami passed a remedial commission map, the plaintiffs filed objections, asserting that the map was still a racial gerrymander. On July 30, the court agreed with the plaintiffs’ objections and ordered the city to adopt the plaintiffs’ proposed map. The defendants appealed this order to the 11th Circuit. On Aug. 2, the 11th Circuit granted the defendant’s motion to stay the district court’s order pending appeal. This means that the plaintiff-drawn map will not be in place for the November 2023 elections. On Aug. 6, the plaintiff groups filed a petition in the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to vacate the 11th Circuit’s decision that paused the implementation of their proposed map. On Aug. 17, the Court denied the request to vacate the stay, meaning that the map drawn by the City of Miami will be in place for the upcoming elections. Litigation is ongoing in the 11th Circuit, however on Nov. 29, 2023, the 11th Circuit paused appellate proceedings pending a decision from the trial court. Trial is set for January 2024. On April 10, 2024, the court struck down the challenged districts for being unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

At a May 9, 2024 meeting, the Miami City Commission deferred a vote on a proposed settlement agreement with the plaintiffs. On May 10, 2024, the City of Miami appealed the court’s April order to the 11th Circuit, but later dismissed the appeal following the eventual approval of a settlement agreement between the parties.

On May 23, the commission voted 4-1 to approve the settlement agreement, which is pending final approval from the mayor of Miami. The settlement agreement implements a new map until 2030 and places proposed redistricting reforms on the ballot in 2025.

RESULT: On July 1, 2024, the court approved the final settlement agreement and the city dismissed its appeal to the 11th Circuit, thereby ending litigation.

Case Documents (district court)

Case Documents (11th circuit)

Case Documents (u.s. supreme court)

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