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Florida appeals court reinstates DeSantis congressional map

Decision announced Friday
041822 desanitis submitted congressional map 2022.jpeg
Posted at 2:17 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 14:17:35-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A state appeals court has reinstated a new congressional map drawn by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ staff that could diminish Florida’s Black representation in Washington, a week after a lower court judge said the map was unconstitutional.

The 1st District Court of appeals ruled that Judge Layne Smith erred when he ordered a replacement map be used for the 2022 election.

The latest order means the governor’s map is reinstated pending outcome of the case in the appeals court.

The DeSantis map would likely boost the number of Florida seats held by Republicans, while also making it difficult for Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson to maintain his seat in a north Florida district where nearly half the voters are Black.

Lawson issued a statement after the ruling Friday.

"While I’m disappointed in today’s decision by the appellate court to reinstate DeSantis’ unconstitutional map, I am confident that the Florida Supreme Court will soon take over this issue and protect the rights of Black voters in North Florida.

“The trial judge was correct to protect minority voting rights by following prior Supreme Court rulings and maintaining the current status quo for North Florida.

“I am confident that the Florida Supreme Court will undo today’s action and reinstate constitutional districts for North Florida in time for the 2022 election.”