TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court is ordering a trial judge to recommend which new map should be put in place for the state's 27 congressional districts, including the district of Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville).
The court in July ordered the Florida Legislature to adopt a new map. But the House and Senate deadlocked over the issue during a 12-day special session that ended in August.
Justices on Friday ordered Circuit Judge Terry Lewis to hold a hearing to try to resolve the dispute. Lawyers for the House and Senate will be allowed to present rival maps to the judge. Lewis will then make a recommendation back to the Supreme Court on which map should be adopted.
Brown announced August 11 that she filed a lawsuit in the 3rd District Federal Court in North Florida, seeking to overturn a decision by the Florida Supreme Court that rules nine congressional districts, including Brown's Fifth District, unconstitutional.
"The Federal Court drew my district in 1992. I was the first African-American to be elected to Congress in 129 years,",Brown said on the steps of the Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville.
Brown's serpentine-shaped district draws in a largely African-American community that stretches from Jacksonville through Gainesville to Sanford.
The Supreme Court gave lawmakers 100 days to draw a map after finding the current districts violated voter-approved standards. But the House and Senate sharply differed on changes proposed for central Florida and the Tampa Bay regions.