State Supreme Court Says New Broward, Palm Beach Senate Districts Unconstitutional

Update, 3/14: The original post had language that confused current and proposed districts. It's been changed to eliminate the ambiguity and correct the numbers assigned to the proposed districts.

​Original post, 3/9:
In November 2010, Florida voters approved two amendments to the Florida state constitution that would ostensibly remove partisanship from the once-a-decade state redistricting process, the idea being that the House and Senate would no longer be able to draw their maps along partisan lines that favor whichever party is in power.

Last year, with a new re-mapping process coming up, Florida Republicans -- out of loyalty to the Constitution or something -- decided that passage by the people wasn't convincing enough to stop them from challenging the ruling in court, with Florida taxpayers footing the bill to both challenge the amendments and defend them. The Republicans failed -- but the Florida Supreme Court ruled today that the Senate broke the rules anyway.

While the House's new map was approved, the court knocked down the Senate's, saying "there is at least the appearance that the Senate thumbed its nose at the will of the people," according to the Miami Herald. Of the 40 Senate districts in the state, eight were ruled to be unfairly drawn in an effort to increase Republican influence. Two of the districts were in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

In a state with a practically even division of registered Republicans and Democrats, the map would make twice as many Republican districts as Democratic ones, according to CBS.

Florida Senate districts that would be occupied by Oakland Park-based Sen. Chris Smith, and Senate Minority Whip Maria Lorts Sachs, from Delray, were rejected with six others, according to the Saint PetersBlog, but the Palm Beach Post reports it's actually Smith and Fort Lauderdale Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff. We'll have another post once things get more ironed out.

Sunrise Democratic Sen. Nan Rich was also on the committee, and said today's ruling "underlined all of the warnings which went unheeded during the redistricting committee hearings and the ultimate vote."

"The Supreme Court saw the same troubling issues of discrimination and favoritism as the Senate Democrats who voted against these maps," wrote Rich, who is also Senate minority leader, adding that the rejected maps "go against every fiber of the Constitution's new anti-gerrymandering amendments overwhelmingly passed by the majority of Florida's voters."

The Senate will give this map-drawing thing another shot in special session. Here's the one that got shot down:

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