State of Florida

Florida Redistricting Advisory Opinion Request

In re: Advisory Opinion to the Governor

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) asked the Florida Supreme Court to issue an advisory opinion clarifying the permissible use of race in the state’s congressional redistricting process. Specifically, DeSantis wanted to know if the current configuration of the 5th Congressional District is legal and if the “Florida Constitution requires the retention of a district in northern Florida that connects the minority population in Jacksonville with distant and distinct minority populations…to ensure sufficient voting strength, even if not a majority, to elect a candidate of their choice.” DeSantis pointed to the state’s “non-diminishment standard,” which prohibits the dilution minority voting strength, and asked the court to define “what constitutes a proper benchmark for determining whether a minority group’s ability to elect a candidate of its choice has been diminished.” The court invited interested parties to submit briefing on DeSantis’ request. The court then declined to issue an advisory opinion on DeSantis’ question, stating that “the scope of the Governor’s request is broad and contains multiple questions that implicate complex federal and state constitutional matters and precedents interpreting the Voting Rights Act of 1965” and the court did not have an adequate record before it to review the state’s congressional districts.


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