Mary Ellen Klas reports tonight that the Florida Senate is asking the courts to wait until after the November elections to hear a challenge to the congressional redistricting maps that were built using the same principles the high court has already rejected.
“…under a reasonable schedule, it is practically impossible to resolve this case in time for any remedy to be implemented for the impending elections,” wrote lawyers for the Florida Senate in a scheduling brief filed Monday in Leon County Circuit Court.
Legislators scheduled the regular legislative session two months early this year to accelerate the redistricting process but, rather than have the maps ready for a vote in the first week, the House and Senate waited until February to pass their final versions and send them to the governor for approval.
Critics of the Legislature’s timeline, including DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, were predicting exactly the kind of scenario outlined by the Senate today.
The Republican plan, Wasserman said in September, is to so delay the drawing of new congressional districts that the 2012 elections would be run in the existing districts that reflect the population and political priorities of 10 years ago. Under that scenario, she said, the two new congressional seats the state is getting because Florida’s population increased in the last decade might be filled in statewide, at-large elections.
“What they’re trying to do, mark my words, is try to push this map drawing all the way until next year … they finish right as federal qualifying begins. What they’re risking is, trying to risk is, making sure that we have to run in the existing districts,.” DWS told a questioner at a town hall meeting Monday at the Sunrise Senior Center.
To which Senate President Designate Don Gaetz replied, “That is a partisan conspiracy theory that rings the malarkey meter buzzer. My friend Debbie needs to get out of Washington and spend a little bit more time breathing air that has oxygen in it.”
“I’ve heard a lot of things, but I haven’t heard anything that wild. There’s absolutely no foundation [to what she said] in fact or in theory. That kind of conspiracy theory is the sort that comes in instructions from the mother ship,” Gaetz said.
Well, Senator Gaetz, that mother ship you talked about seems to have landed on top of the Florida Senate building. And its not Congresswoman Schultz who sounds like she’s from X-Files, it’s you who do, sir.