Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Challenge of congressional maps won't be delayed

TALLAHASSEE — The state Democratic Party and a coalition of voter groups hoping to invalidate the boundaries of Florida's 27 congressional districts will be allowed to make their case during a trial next month.

But whether a judge will rule on the maps before the November elections remains up in the air.

During a preliminary hearing Friday, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis said he wants to at least attempt to address some of issues surrounding the proposed congressional maps during a hearing the week of April 16.

That's a blow to lawyers from the House and Senate, who had hoped to delay the trial until after November.

They argue that there isn't enough time for Lewis to rule and for the Senate and House to potentially redraw the maps before candidate qualifying is scheduled to start June 4.

That still may be true, Lewis admitted.

"I don't know that I could resolve the claims of the plaintiffs in the time they want to resolve them," he said during Friday's roughly 30-minute hearing.

The lawsuit accuses legislators of trying to protect incumbents and therefore violating an antigerrymandering amendment passed by Florida voters in 2010.

The suit was filed by the Florida League of Women Voters, the National Council of La Raza and Common Cause of Florida

Lewis said he asked the Florida Supreme Court to share software and other resources used during a similar challenge to the Florida House and Senate maps, a rare occurrence and a signal the judge hopes to delve into the evidence.

Last week, the Supreme Court validated the House maps but rejected the Senate's and suggested fixes.

Lawmakers returned to Tallahassee Wednesday to begin the process of redrawing the Senate map.

The coalition of plaintiffs asked the judge to expedite the challenge to the congressional maps, saying elections shouldn't be allowed to move forward under the proposed districts.

Challenge of congressional maps won't be delayed 03/16/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 16, 2012 8:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa


    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.