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Gary Fineout: New showdown looming between Charlie Crist and Legislature

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From Gary Fineout: A battle over proposed redistricting amendments is turning into an extraordinary legal fight between members of Congress, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, Gov. Charlie Crist and even a former governor.

Last month U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart filed a lawsuit in Leon County to get one of two redistricting amendments sponsored by FairDistrictsFlorida.org thrown off the 2010 ballot. Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, contend the measure is misleading and would reduce the number of minorities elected.

But since then both the Florida House and Florida Senate have gotten permission to join the lawsuit and are now fighting to get Amendment 6 removed from the ballot. Amendment 6 would impose new standards for congressional redistricting. But the Legislature also wants the court to throw out another ballot measure — Amendment 5 — that would apply to legislative districts only.

Crist this week has jumped into the legal fray as well, but he wants the court to throw out the lawsuit. Crist’s general counsel argues that both amendments was previously reviewed by the state Supreme Court before they went on the ballot and that the lawsuit is “prolonging a legal imbroglio at the expense of healthy political debate.”

The governor’s legal filing slams the Legislature for launching an “attempt to block the people’s opportunity to weigh in on the way their congressional and legislative districts are drawn.” Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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