Supreme Court to take up Florida redistricting challenge--but not in time for 2024

 January 25, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court indicated Wednesday that it would take up a Florida challenge to the latest redistricting map, but a decision may come too late to impact the 2024 election.

The Florida map pushed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was credited with gaining four congressional seats for Republicans, which was a major factor in giving Republicans the majority in the House.

DeSantis had urged the Florida Supreme Court to keep the map in place, but because the appeals court overturned the lower court decision that required the redrawing, the U.S. Supreme Court will now weigh in--but probably not before the 2024 election.

Arguments are being accepted until late May, and possibly a hearing. The trouble is congressional qualifying happens in late April.

Avoidable delay

This timeline is not amenable to affecting 2024, and the map could end up remaining as-is until 2026 when House members will be voted on again.

Those challenging the map have to be disappointed by the delay. An agreement had been in place to narrow the lawsuit to one seat, but it was superseded by the appeals court ruling.

Now the whole map is up for review, but not until the next election.

At this point, those four seats could be the difference between Republican control and not, although there are many factors at play for 2024.

It's likely to be razor-thin, whichever side ends up with more members.

A step forward

At least some pushing the lawsuit seemed happy about the ruling, however.

“This marks another step toward a more representative map for Florida voters,” president of the National Redistricting Foundation John Bisognano said. “With the law and well-established Florida Supreme Court precedent on our side, we are confident that we have a strong case to bring before the court.”

The lawsuit being considered by the Supreme Court is only one of several against the map.

It looks like DeSantis might have gone too far in making 20 of 28 districts favor Republicans instead of the previous 16, including eliminating a Black majority district. That's a huge no-no in this day and age, and the NAACP is fighting back in a separate suit.

We'll see if the Supreme Court agrees with DeSantis--but not until at least June and maybe August, when 2024 candidates will be firmly in place.

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Thomas Jefferson
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