Federal Judge Rejects Redraw of Miami City Commission Map, Orders Adoption of New Map

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Sunday, July 30, a federal judge rejected Miami, Florida’s redraw of its city commission districts and ordered the city to adopt new districts for the upcoming November 2023 elections.

Yesterday’s order — which stems from a lawsuit brought by Florida branches of the NAACP, Miami community groups and Miami voters — comes after Judge K. Michael Moore temporarily blocked Miami’s commission map back in May, ruling that it was likely an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Following the court’s order, the city of Miami adopted new city commission districts on June 14 and notified the court about its passage of a remedial map. 

After the submission of the city’s remedial map to the court, the plaintiffs filed objections, asserting that the new map for the city’s five commission districts — like the map that was previously blocked — was racially gerrymandered. In their objections, the plaintiffs emphasized how the new map did not remedy the constitutional defects of the previous map: “The City has doubled down. Rather than accepting this Court’s findings and abandoning their goal of dividing the city along racial lines to achieve ‘categorical representation,’…the City created a ‘new’ map that closely resembles the Enjoined Plan.” 

In yesterday’s order, Moore once again sided with the plaintiffs, finding “that the Remedial Plan does not completely correct the constitutional defects the Court found were substantially likely to exist in the Enjoined Plan.” “Considering that 94.1% of Miamians remain in the same district as they were under the Enjoined Plan, and which citizens were moved indicate a legislative intent to retain the racial breakdown of the Enjoined Plan, the Court finds that this circumstantial evidence supports the conclusion that the Remedial Plan perpetuates the unconstitutional aspects of the Enjoined Plan,” the order continued. 

As a result of these findings as well as the fact that “there is no longer enough time to order the Commissioners to draw another map,” the court adopted an alternative remedial map known as “P4” — which was proposed by the plaintiffs — for the November 2023 election. “The Court is…satisfied that P4 delineates districts in a manner that preserves communities of interest, without dividing the neighborhoods among racial lines,” the order stated. 

On the same day it was issued, the city of Miami appealed the district court’s order to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Moore denied the city’s request to stay the order pending appeal, meaning that as of now, the city must adopt the plaintiffs’ proposed map as an interim remedial plan for the November 2023 municipal election. 

Read the order here. 

Learn more about the case here.