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DeSantis-appointed judge declares Florida House map unconstitutional

A Florida circuit judge on Wednesday declared the state’s congressional map unconstitutional because it drew out a black-majority district in North Florida.

Leon Circuit Judge Layne Smith, a 2020 appointee of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, ordered the old map’s boundaries to be restored, The Orlando Sentinel reported. In his ruling, judge said he could not determine whether the proposed map violated the federal Voting Rights Act, but he found it violated the Florida Constitution’s Fair District amendment.

“I am finding that the enacted map is unconstitutional under the Fair Districts amendment … because it diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect the representative of their choice,” Smith said.

“I’m not going to order the Legislature to go back in session [to fix it]. I don’t really think that’s up to me,” he noted during the virtual hearing.

The judge said he plans on issuing an order by Thursday that will return District 5,

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