Florida redistricting lawsuit

Latest stage in the long, long fight against gerrymandering in Florida. General outline on Ballotpedia.

In 2005 there was a movement to put an initiative on the ballot to take the redistricting power away from the state legislature and give it to an independent nonpartisan/bipartisan commission. Enough petition-signatures were collected, but the Supreme Court of Florida kept the amendment off the ballot as not being “single-subject.”

In 2010 there was another pair of initiatives that got onto the ballot and were approved by the voters. These constitutional amendments left redistricting with the legislature, but established certain standards to be followed.

Amendment 5:

Amendment 6:

I predicted in my 2010 thread:

And so it is happening now. The League of Women Voters filed suit in Leon County (where the state capital, Tallahassee, is located) to challenge the redistricting map the legislature (both houses Republican-controlled) came up with. The National Democratic Redistricting Trust is bankrolling the lawsuit. Latest news:

Other stories on the lawsuit are aggregated here at the fairdistrictsnow.org website.

Is anything like this happening in other states?

I like my proposal: districts must be drawn with populations divided among districts as evenly as possible. The majority party draws the map. Some sort of inverse-square rule is applied (take the distance of each voter from the center of the district, square it, add 'em up, something like that) to form a total score. Submit for approval.

The minority party may choose either to approve the map, OR to submit their own map that improves on the inverse-square score by at least 10%. If they can do so, their map goes into effect. If they can’t do so, the majority map goes into effect.

Turn the partisan rancor to our benefit.

Which political party does the majority in the Florida Supreme Court represent?

Of its seven justices, two were appointed by Dem governors, four by Pubs, and one (Peggy Quince) was appointed simultaneously by outgoing Dem Lawton Chiles and incoming Pub Jeb Bush.

This part is bullshit:

Absolute, complete, 99 and 44/100ths pure bullshit.

Evidence in a trial should be 100 percent open to the public. Period.

Left Hand of Dorkness, that’s similar to my proposal, except that the scoring algorithm I’d use is the total length of the district boundaries, and I’d let every legislator propose a map (in order of increasing seniority).

I had been wondering what happened to these cases. The last thing I’d heard was that Scott had managed an end run around the amendments by refusing to submit them to the Justice Department for preclearance - but then that stopped being an issue with Shelby County.

Really? How about the testimony of a five-year-old victim in a child molestation case? Or the secret formula for Coke in a patent infringement case? Or (as here), documents which may be privileged or subject to qualified immunity and have to be inspected by the judge before a ruling on disclosure?

Yup, absolutely. If Coke is trying to claim a patent on something based on their secret formula, then they need to give up their secrecy. That’s one of the fundamental requirements of patents.

I would be totally good with this.

Since Chronos has brought up the minimize-length-of-boundaries alternative, I think the main advantages of each relative to the other are: minimizing the inverse square would be more precise, and the yardstick would be in terms of people, rather than geography itself. But minimizing the length of district boundaries is way more comprehensible to the average citizen.

Math geek advantage, least squares. Political advantage, minimizing boundaries. But either one would be a hell of a lot better than what we have now.

Here’s fairdistrictsnow.org’s version of the background of the lawsuit.

I went to the link, hoping to find the justification for this, but found none. It makes no sense to me on the face of it that this apparently fairly key part of the trial should be under seal.

I always thought that there is an easy solution to the gerrymandering problem:

  1. Have the legislature draw up the districts.
  2. Draw, at random, a jury of 100 voters.
  3. Present to them, on flash cards, the silhouettes of the districts. Just black blob on white paper, no position on the map or anything.
  4. If the majority (51 out of 100) on any one district, based on the silhouette, decide that it is gerrymandered, go back to step 1.

We don’t know if this is a key part of the trial yet. The GOP says the documents are subject to the associational privilege (in which case they cannot be admitted into evidence) and the LOWV says they aren’t. No court has actually ruled on that issue yet.

Tru dat, but the part that I don’t get is, if they’re determined to not be covered by the privilege, and admitted into evidence as a result, then what’s the justification for the seal?

There won’t be any.

Hyperbole? Or is that a literal claim?

Can I discover your trade secrets by suing you and issuing a subpoena that includes them?

Can my client accused of raping his 12-year-old niece force her to testify in open court to the acts that prove his guilt?

No, because the plaintiff doesn’t issue subpoenas; the court does.

No, but the prosecution will probably have a harder time proving their case without that testimony.

What? The plaintiff can issue all the subpoenas he wants (though not to a party.)

More and more I’m supporting the proportional representation model.

So they’re not evidence until after that? When they are used as evidence, I would expect them to be public.

As to your other two questions, and to Bricker’s, yes, evidence that is to considered in reaching a verdict in a trial should be public.