Court ruling paves the way for new congressional map ahead of 2024 in Florida

Posted at 4:54 PM, Sep 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-02 18:11:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The circuit court of the Second Judicial Circuit in and for Leon County, Florida has ruled in the legal challenge against Governor Ron DeSantis’ congressional maps in Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute v. Byrd. The court declared Florida’s congressional map unconstitutional.

After Florida’s Congressional maps were redrawn in 2022, advocates fought back and called out alleged gerrymandering. Saturday’s ruling paves the way for a new congressional map to be implemented ahead of 2024.

Former Congressman Alfred J. Lawson, Jr. issued the following statement regarding today’s redistricting Order, issued by Circuit Court Judge J. Lee Marsh:

“I am pleased the Court struck down the DeSantis congressional map, finding that his office and the Legislature violated the Constitution. This decision is a victory for the people of North Florida, particularly those communities of color who have been historically disenfranchised” said former Congressman Al Lawson. “Today’s decision is the right one for Florida and is firmly based on precedent from the Florida Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.” Lawson continued, “I am confident the state Supreme Court Justices will uphold their oaths to the Constitution and affirm this decision.”

As to his own future considerations, Lawson continued with the following statement:

“There is still more work to be done, so any decision about my future plans will come when this process is complete. My only goal right now is to ensure that fair representation is returned to the people of North Florida.”

Following Saturday’s ruling, Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of Equal Ground, which is a plaintiff in this case, said in part, “voters should be empowered to pick their leaders, not the other way around.”

In August of 2023, the Associated Press reported a federal judge originally ruled in 2022 that the DeSantis-championed congressional map was unconstitutional. However, an appellate court reinstated it before last year's primary and general elections and sent the case back to the lower court.