Our Take: Redistricting Ruling

Editorial | Orlando Sentinel | 03/10/2012
Vindication for voters

Florida's state senators flouted the will of the people when they redrew their districts. Fortunately, the state Supreme Court didn't let them get away with it.

The high court's 5-2 ruling Friday, rejecting the Senate map, will force a do-over. The majority found that eight of the districts didn't comply with the anti-gerrymandering standards that 63 percent of voters approved in 2010.

Under those standards, lawmakers aren't permitted to design districts to favor incumbents or parties. They must, as much as possible, draw compact districts without splitting communities.

Far from a case of judicial overreach, the court's ruling was a thorough — at 234 pages — and discerning judgment on the integrity on the redistricting process. While a majority of justices rejected the Senate map, they unanimously upheld the House map.

The court's different conclusions wouldn't surprise anyone who objectively evaluated the work of the Senate and the House.

The Senate map didn't place any of its 28 incumbents likely to run for re-election in a more competitive district. It included a district for Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner with a "bizarrely drawn appendage" that made him more likely to win re-election.

The House map, by contrast, put 38 current members in the same district as a colleague.

Now the Senate will have to make a more sincere effort to draw fair districts. Good. Florida voters meant what they said when they amended the state constitution.

Copyright © 2012, Orlando Sentinel


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