State judge blocks DeSantis redistricting map; 5th Congressional District to be used in 2022 election cycle

by | May 11, 2022


Florida state judge Layne Smith on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction on Florida’s new congressional map, preventing the newly proposed map from being used in the upcoming election cycle

The lawsuit sought to halt the implementation of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ self-drawn map, which intended to dissolve Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which is held by Democrat Rep Al Lawson. The lawsuit alleges the map violates Florida’s Constitution and the voter-approved Fair Districts Amendment by reducing the strength of Black voters, with which Smith ruled in conjunction.

DeSantis in March submitted his own redistricting proposal, an action scarcely undertaken by a sitting governor, that would remove the North Florida District.

The governor initially sought legal counsel from the Florida Supreme Court earlier this year as to whether his proposed redistricting plan would be valid in accordance with the Fair Districts standard.

Fair Districts amended the practice of drawing congressional district boundaries in such ways that they establish equitable practices in districts with high concentrations of minority voters. The State Supreme Court refused to administer advice to DeSantis.

“An opinion from this Court in the middle of the legislative process would necessarily interfere with the Legislature’s exclusive authority to craft the laws,” Florida’s Supreme Court said in a legal filing. “While the maps the Legislature might enact remain entirely hypothetical, the threat that the Request for an advisory opinion will draw the Court into the legislative process is not hypothetical. The Legislature is understandably reluctant to act when this Court might issue an opinion affecting its map-drawing powers.”

Democrat opponents have praised the ruling, while the Office of the Governor can be anticipated to immediately appeal.

While enduring the Special Session on redistricting and the despicable process of eliminating Black voters’ representation in Congress, I held out hope and faith that the court would do its job, and today it did,” said Rep. Kelly Skidmore. “No matter how they repeatedly tried to justify themselves, it should come as no surprise to the Governor and this Republican-led legislature that the map is a violation of Florida’s Fair Districts amendments and the U.S. constitution.”

If Smith’s ruling is ultimately appealed, the case would be delegated to the 1st District Court of Appeal, and then if appealed again, it would go to the Florida Supreme Court. The 1st District could additionally opt to send it straight to the state’s highest court.

This is a developing breaking news story and will continue to be updated.


  1. Tom

    Skidmore is ignorant. It’s not a violation of the U S Const. It actually applies to the Fed Const. The judges commentary that the district is up be made to “control” for a group is highly inflammatory and disparaging. What a awful, narrow ruling. So a dist, drawn like a pencil from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, force fed by a liberal Democrat appointed Sup ct in 2015 is ok. What a crock of Adam Schiff.

    • Anonymous

      This for a incumbent who hasn’t even shown up for a vote at all. Disgusting.

    • Deborah Coffey

      Let’s see if you think this is not cheating and is fair. The number of registered Democrats and Republicans is Florida is just about equal. So, is THIS fair? “Florida has 27 congressional districts, 16 of which are represented by Republicans and 11 by Democrats. Under the new map, which was proposed by DeSantis himself, Republicans would probably represent 20 districts while Democrats would represent eight.” What a crock, eh?

      • Tom

        No not at all. Trump carried 19 districts,
        53% of vote! It’s over
        St Supremes or Feds will concur on Guuvneer

  2. Tim

    Please appeal this atrocious ruling. Judges ruling is incredibly narrow. Appeals court and ultimately the Florida Sup ct can cheat this up. The Sup ct has intervened 2 or 3 times this year on these sorts of confused state conflicts with federal districts.

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