Supreme Court grants House’s request to reschedule oral argument in redistricting case

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The Florida Supreme Court has reset oral argument in the congressional redistricting case for Nov. 10, according to an order released Friday.

Arguments will begin at 2 p.m.

Lawyers for the Florida House of Representatives on Thursday had asked the court to postpone argument, originally set for Nov. 2, because it conflicted with the upcoming Special Session to redraw the state Senate districts.

The House has a meeting of its Select Committee on Redistricting also on Nov. 2. The state Senate redistricting Special Session is set for next Monday through Nov. 6.

The court’s Friday order again contains an all-cap sentence at the end: “NO CONTINUANCES WILL BE GRANTED EXCEPT UPON A SHOWING OF EXTREME HARDSHIP.”

The justices soon will consider a map recommended by a lower court judge as they wrap up a challenge from the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause and a group of Democratic-leaning voters.

They had sued over the current congressional lines, redrawn after the 2010 census, saying the existing map violates a state constitutional prohibition against gerrymandering, the manipulation of political boundaries to favor a particular incumbent or party.

Voters in 2010 passed the “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments to prohibit such gerrymandering. The suit pitted the Florida House and Senate, which drew the map, against the plaintiffs. 

The case worked its way to the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled that the current map was “tainted by unconstitutional intent to favor the Republican Party and incumbents.”

The high court gave 100 days for lawmakers to come up with a solution, and that time runs out in mid-October. The House and Senate failed to agree on a map during a Special Session this summer, throwing it back into the courts.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.