By Roger Caldwell
The Florida Legislature has had a very demanding year in 2015. The Florida Supreme Court has ordered the Florida Legislature to redraw eight congressional state districts, which will impact many other congressional districts. It is imperative that this procedure is completed immediately because there are candidates qualifying for the 2016 congressional elections.
Under a 2010 “Fair Districts” voter approved constitutional amendment, districts are not allowed to draw to favor a specific political party. In theory, this law takes the politics out of the political process, but the party in power makes the final decisions when drawing up the maps.
“It has been a long hard battle against devious, political scheming, but the Florida Supreme Court handed the people of Florida a total victory forcing the redrawing of every one of the eight districts that we contested in the lawsuit” said Pamela Goodman, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. But, the same legislators who made up the illegal maps before will make them up again.
There is a fundamental contradiction when the system thinks Republicans in power are going to make maps that are impartial so they can lose elections. I just don’t think the redrawing of maps should be in the hands of legislatures who can delete and destroy emails. Even though the court will have the final approval on the re-drawing of the districts, some-thing still does not appear trans-parent and credible.
When the Florida Legislators can make back-room deals behind closed doors, the political system cannot be trusted. The entire process of redrawing congressional districts is rotten to the core, and no one is being held accountable for breaking the law. The legislators deleted documents relating to the re-districting, even though they acknowledged that litigation over the redistricting plan was “a moral certainty.”
Opponents of the Senate maps and plaintiffs were highly critical of the process accusing Republican consultations of being secretive, and not trans-parent. The Florida Supreme Court agreed with the suit, and ruled the maps were “tainted by unconstitutional intent” to favor the Republican Party and their incumbents. The Supreme Court also reversed the trial court’s order to approve the Legislature’s revised redistricting plan.
In this Florida Supreme Court’s order, several Democrats and Republicans will be affected by the ruling. Both parties are calling the decision from the Supreme Court “seriously flawed” because some legislators have been in the same district for 15 to 20 years. Maybe it is time to change the game, and end gerrymandering
Since gerrymandering hap-pens in every district across the country, maybe it would make sense to draw up electoral maps with state residents who are chosen by a state committee controlled by the courts. The residents would be vetted by a state committee and lawmakers would not be allowed to draw up the maps. It is my hope that the residents would not be bribed, and there would be less corruption in the process.