There is no shortage of rumors, guesses and predictions about what map – if any – will ultimately pass the Legislature.
Seriously, I am pretty sure I have heard every scenario, theory and vote count. I have listened to some of the brightest and best-informed politicos postulate and prognosticate about what the next few days will bring. And it is, I must admit, pretty cool that folks who didn’t know a census tract from a racetrack are now discussing the Polsby-Popper score, County Splits and Tier 2 compliance.
Hey kids, can we take a knee for just a second? None of it matters.
Let me repeat that.
NONE. OF. IT. MATTERS.
The Florida Legislature could pass 50 maps next week and it won’t matter.
The settlement agreement that brings us to this point clearly states that any maps passed by the Legislature WILL GET NO SPECIAL DEFERENCE.
None. Zippo. Nada.
It doesn’t matter.
It’s not even like a red flag play in the NFL where the call on the field stands unless there is evidence on the replay to overturn it.
No. Special. Deference.
That functionally means that the map submitted by James Riley from Harris, Texas, has as much gravitas as the one passed by both chambers – even if (hell freezes over) the maps passed both chambers unanimously.
Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself. It’s right there in the stipulation agreement – agreed to by the Senate and signed by Judge Reynolds – and it clearly states on page 2:
“No deference shall be afforded to the Legislature’s decisions in drawing Senate district boundaries …” – League of Women Voters of Florida v. Detzner Case No.: 2012-ca-2842.
In case you don’t have a law degree that means no deference shall be afforded to the Legislature’s decisions in drawing Senate district boundaries. Whatever map passes the Legislature is just another map and Mr. Riley might as well be the Senate President.
So every potential candidate who is out there checking boundaries, cities, and district lines, and wondering who will run against who based on a base map or the latest submission by a chairman or an agreement in conference, please keep in mind that whatever the Legislature does … well, you know.
These maps are no more relevant in determining the ultimate lines than any other map. So sit tight, watch and wait.
Oh, and how cool would it be if Andrews begins offering Polsby Poppers as an appetizer? I’m thinking deep-fried habaneros filled with some fancy French work-week cheese.