A Florida judge on Wednesday said he will block a redistricting map drawn by Gov. Ron DeSantis and approved by legislators, ruling it unconstitutional.
Leon County Circuit Court Judge Layne Smith said the map by DeSantis and his staff would have removed Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which extends from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, and which is represented by black Democrat Al Lawson.
According to local reports, Lawson’s district is about 47 percent black but the DeSantis map would have made it between 12 and 25 percent black.
Smith ordered that a new map drafted by Harvard professor Stephen Ansolabehere be considered instead.
“I am finding that the enacted map is unconstitutional under the Fair District Amendment … because it diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect the representative of their choice,” Smith said during a court hearing conducted via Zoom on Wednesday, according to the Florida Phoenix.
He cited the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and Florida’s Fair Districts amendments to
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