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Raoul Cantero

Judge denies Senate motion to appoint new consultant in redistricting case

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A Tallahassee trial court judge Friday afternoon denied a motion filed by the Legislature’s attorneys that sought to appoint a special consultant. Second Judicial Circuit Judge George Reynolds sided with a coalition group of plaintiffs who brought the Senate redistricting challenge that ultimately invalidated the chamber’s enacted maps. Lewis said the time frame for the court’s work was too short to implement a new course of action. “The ship has sailed, and we are on the sea with this process,” said Lewis, denying…

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Corrine Brown lambastes state Supreme Court over congressional redistricting

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Despite questions on many parts of the map, the Florida Supreme Court Tuesday focused on South Florida during the final scheduled oral argument in an ongoing congressional redistricting challenge. That inflamed Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, whose north-south district had been ordered changed by the court to an east-west configuration. That district didn’t get a mention. Brown, wearing a University of Florida shawl, harangued reporters afterward on the courthouse steps. Her 5th Congressional District, called one of the most gerrymandered in the country, meanders…

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Judge holds to dates for state Senate redistricting trial

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Circuit Judge George Reynolds stuck to his guns Tuesday, saying that pre-trial conference and trial dates for a state Senate redistricting challenge were “carved in stone.” Reynolds held a brief case management conference at the Leon County Courthouse, reiterating that Dec. 1 and Dec. 10 would be reserved for pre-trial, with trial remaining on Dec. 14-18. As he sat on the bench, Reynolds asked the attorneys “what news” they had. Florida Senate attorney Raoul Cantero rose to say lawmakers had failed to agree…

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House lawyer: Congressional districts don’t need to be perfect

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The outside lawyer for the Florida House of Representatives argued in a legal brief against a set of suggested congressional district boundaries in part by saying there’s no legal requirement “to create the ‘best’ possible districts.” George Meros, a Tallahassee attorney who also represented then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential recount, says the court “should adopt the House Map.” Briefs were filed in advance for Tuesday afternoon’s oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court in the congressional redistricting challenge. Meros’ brief criticizes…

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Bill Galvano says Senate redistricting could be on floor by early next week

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The head of the Senate’s redistricting panel said he plans to file a bill for the Senate’s new district boundaries by late Wednesday and begin to discuss it by Friday. Despite seemingly little headway made during an hours-long meeting earlier Wednesday, state Sen. Bill Galvano said redistricting legislation could be on the floor of the Senate as early as Monday. The committee continued deliberations on six staff-drawn base maps and heard a presentation from state Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Lake…

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Tom Lee’s dissent grows over Senate redistricting effort

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State Sen. Tom Lee has emerged a lone voice of Republican dissent over the ongoing effort to redraw the Senate’s district map. Lee, a Brandon Republican and former Senate president, sits on the chamber’s redistricting panel that is meeting Wednesday. The morning part of the meeting was slowed down with technical and legal explanations. Essentially, however, Lee’s chief complaint was: We’re not doing it right. At one point, Lee gestured at a display of the six staff-drawn maps and asked, “Do these…

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An angry Tom Lee questions Senate base maps

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A fiery state Sen. Tom Lee lashed out at the Senate’s outside attorney Monday, questioning why he didn’t object to specific allegations of unconstitutionality over the chamber’s current districts. The Legislature began a scheduled three-week Special Session to redraw the state’s 40 districts after the Senate settled a court challenge by admitting its current map was gerrymandered to benefit Republicans and incumbents. Lee, a Brandon Republican, also asked why all of the replacement maps contain districts that cross Tampa Bay when the Supreme Court, in…

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