Redistricting Update Notes: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania

Florida Redistricting:

Gov. DeSantis Queries High Court: Attempting to solve the disagreement between Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and some leadership members from the state legislature, the state’s chief executive has asked the Florida state Supreme Court for an advisory opinion about the legality of dividing the majority minority 5th District that stretches from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. A brand new Michigan state Supreme Court ruling (see below) that affirmed the state’s redistricting commission move to divide their minority seats in Detroit could provide some precedent for the Florida high court.

Michigan Redistricting:

State Supreme Court Rejects Dem Legislators’ Claim: The Michigan state Supreme Court, on a 4-3 vote, rejected the redistricting challenge of a group of current and past Detroit area African American state legislators late Thursday. The plaintiffs were arguing that the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission members illegally divided many of the minority Voting Rights districts, but a majority of the justices disagreed. Therefore, the Commission-adopted congressional and legislative maps will stand pending further litigation in federal court should the plaintiffs, or others, launch additional legal action.

Pennsylvania Redistricting:

State Supreme Court Assumes Jurisdiction: The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court, known as one of the most politically partisan judicial panels in the country, announced last week that it is claiming jurisdiction of the redistricting case now before Republican judge Patricia McCullough of the Commonwealth Court. At first, this appeared a partisan Democratic move, but the high court then installed Judge McCullough as the special master with the responsibility of drawing the new congressional and state legislative maps.

Pennsylvania lost a seat in reapportionment, so political observers are closely watching this process. The current Pennsylvania delegation features a 9R-9D split, but this was after the state Supreme Court changed the map before the 2018 election, thus allowing the Democrats to gain three seats. The maps are in court because Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the Republican legislature’s plans.

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