Supreme Court grants House's request to reschedule oral argument in redistricting case

James Rosica | Saint Peters Blog | 10/15/2015

The Florida Supreme Court has reset oral argument in the congressional redistricting case for Nov. 10, according to an order released Friday.

Arguments will begin at 2 p.m.

Lawyers for the Florida House of Representatives on Thursday had asked the court to postpone argument, originally set for Nov. 2, because it conflicted with the upcoming Special Session to redraw the state Senate districts.

The House has a meeting of its Select Committee on Redistricting also on Nov. 2. The state Senate redistricting Special Session is set for next Monday through Nov. 6.

The court’s Friday order again contains an all-cap sentence at the end: “NO CONTINUANCES WILL BE GRANTED EXCEPT UPON A SHOWING OF EXTREME HARDSHIP.”

The justices soon will consider a map recommended by a lower court judge as they wrap up a challenge from the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause and a group of Democratic-leaning voters.

They had sued over the current congressional lines, redrawn after the 2010 census, saying the existing map violates a state constitutional prohibition against gerrymandering, the manipulation of political boundaries to favor a particular incumbent or party.

Voters in 2010 passed the “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments to prohibit such gerrymandering. The suit pitted the Florida House and Senate, which drew the map, against the plaintiffs.

The case worked its way to the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled that the current map was “tainted by unconstitutional intent to favor the Republican Party and incumbents.”

The high court gave 100 days for lawmakers to come up with a solution, and that time runs out in mid-October. The House and Senate failed to agree on a map during a Special Session this summer, throwing it back into the courts.

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