Those now involved in the ongoing congressional redistricting challenge are against letting Republican U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster become a new party in the case, according to court filings released Monday.
The Florida House of Representatives, Florida Senate, Common Cause and League of Women Voters of Florida, among others, filed responses opposing Webster’s motion to intervene, submitted last week to the Florida Supreme Court.
The two legislative chambers, however, did say they were OK with Webster’s lawyers just handing in a friend-of-the-court brief.
But the League, Common Cause and others noted that Webster had said nothing for long after the initial filing of the constitutional challenge to the districts as redrawn after the 2010 census.
Their response notes that Webster, a three-term congressman representing Central Florida’s 10th Congressional District, opposes proposed changes only because they “are supposedly intended to disfavor him in that they are more Democratic than the gerrymandered district in which he was elected.”
“Congressman Webster may well believe that it is impossible for him to prevail in a (redrawn) district,” the response says. “Regardless of his personal interest in being re-elected, however, Webster does not have a right to disrupt this case after staying silent for over three years, and he certainly does not have a constitutional right to a gerrymandered district.”
In his motion, Webster had admitted recognizing that “generally intervention is not authorized at the appellate level.”
A new congressional district map being considered by the court could end the political career of the 66-year-old Webster, a conservative icon in Florida now in the running to be the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The map eviscerates his Republican base because it makes his current district a Hispanic and registered Democrat-heavy seat.
Webster previously had pleaded with lawmakers in the most-recent Special Session, acknowledging he could not be re-elected in such a district. In July, the court ruled Webster’s current district boundaries to be unconstitutional.
Webster led the Republican Party’s rise to statewide power in Florida in the 1990s. He eventually held office longer than any other state lawmaker before Florida instituted term limits. Webster was Florida House Speaker (1996-98) and Senate Republican Leader before his election to Congress in 2010.