Brown, Diaz-Balart file suit to block ‘Fair Districts’ amendment
Well, that didn’t take long. One of the few bright spots for progressive organizations in Florida on election day — the passage of Amendments 5 and 6, which would limit the Florida legislature’s freedom to gerrymander districts — is already being challenged in court.
Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, filed a complaint yesterday seeking to block implementation of Amendment 6, calling it “unconstitutional” (via Florida Tribune). Amendment 5 deals with legislative districts, 6 with congressional ones.
There is nothing new about Brown and Diaz-Balart’s opposition to 5 and 6. Both served as “honorary national chairs” of the group Protect Your Vote, which sought to defeat the so-called “Fair Districts” amendments. Protect Your Vote’s campaign was largely bankrolled by the Republican Party of Florida, which obviously has a stake in how Florida’s district lines are drawn. Brown and Diaz-Balart also sued to stop the amendments from even appearing on state ballots. They lost that case in August.
Brown represents a minority-heavy district that snakes all the way from Jacksonville to eastern Gainesville and into Orlando — exactly the kind of district (which clumps together minority votes at the expense of geographic logic) that 5 and 6 will likely change come 2012.
Diaz-Balart, meanwhile, has also benefited from gerrymandering. Rather than face a challenging reelection bid in the district he represents, he chose this year to switch districts and run for the seat held by his retiring brother, Lincoln, whose district is more solidly Republican.
Read their complaint in full: