As the Republicans of Florida gave final approval to new constituencies on Thursday, black lawmakers arranged a sitting ban on the floor of the legislature, prayed, sang and sang that black voters were attacked in the state.
The unusual moment was a great end point for the brazen attack of the Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.
Earlier this month, an unprecedented step was taken by Republicans in the legislature an unusual step by DeSantis resolution take the initiative to develop new constituencies. The governor’s plan has done its best to reduce from four to two the number of constituencies where black candidates can choose a candidate of their choice.
The plan significantly distorts the map in favor of Republicans, allowing them to retain 20 of the 28 seats in Congress in Donald Trump won in 2020 with 51.2% voting. According to FiveThirtyEightthe map of Florida is almost associated with Texas as the most biased map in the United States.
DeSantis received his card after rejecting less biased but still Republican-friendly cards proposed by the legislature. The fact that the legislature has handed over its powers to DeSantis only underscores how it controls the governor, who is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024. Florida politics.
“In general, there is a one-man government in Florida now,” said Mac Stepanovich, a longtime retired Republican strategist.
“Democracy in Florida doesn’t work. It has not disappeared, the structure is there, there is a possibility of returning to representative power with checks and balances. But it is not working at the moment. “
DeSantis ’plan does not make a serious effort to maintain legal protection for minority voters. The amendment to the Florida Constitution, approved by an overwhelming majority in 2010, makes it illegal to elect a constituency that reduces the minority’s ability to elect a candidate at will. DeSantis, however, has eliminated two constituencies that allow black voters to do so.
The governor spoke openly about his desire to get rid of the fifth constituency in Congress, which is 46% black and stretches from Jacksonville to Tallahassee.
The governor said the constituency currently represented by the Black Democrat was an illegal racial game because it was brought in to preserve the ability of black voters to elect a candidate of their choice. DeSantis plan chops area to four republican constituencies where black voters would make up a much smaller proportion of the population.
The DeSantis plan appears to have “all the hallmarks of deliberate discrimination,” said Stuart Naife, a lawyer with the NAACP Foundation for Legal Protection and Education, which deals with district relocation cases.
“He wants to dismantle the democratic district. And in this case, a democratic district held for a long time by a black man. And it is a constituency of the majority minority, so it is worrying that it is diluting the minority vote on the grounds that it has constitutional concerns about it. “
The protest began Thursday after Yvonne Hinson, a Democrat from Gainesville, talked about her work in the civil rights era was only to have her microphone muted when her time was up.
“I was pushed. I was talked about and called names, which you don’t even put in the dictionary anymore, ”she said. “The Electoral Rights Act of 1965, for which I fought. I met Martin Luther King, I’m not just talking about him. He taught me to protest peacefully, and here we are in 2022, rolling back the flow. “
Two black lawmakers, Trey McCardy of Orlando and Angie Nixon of Jacksonville, wore T-shirts that said “Stop the Black Attack” when they protested on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“What we have is a group of people who are worried, concerned and intimidated by the browning, the darkening of our country, and they are trying to hold on to power so much that they are changing the rules,” Nixon said. told reporters.
DeSantis and his lawyers have shown little concern about the precedent, but have made it clear that they are betting that federal and state courts will agree with their interpretation of the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court has long ruled that lawmakers may consider exceeding an area if they have a justification until it is a predominant factor, said Michael Lee, a conversion expert with the Brennan Justice Center.
However, a conservative majority of the Supreme Court recently said it was very skeptical about the use of race in redistributing districts.
“They’re trying to figure out what they can get their hands on,” said Stuart Naife of the NAACP Legal Protection Foundation. “If we talk about what the courts have done recently, they can get away with it.”
DeSantis appears to be seeking to attack the language against the Herrimander rule that Florida voters have added to the state constitution. In addition to the out-of-law discriminatory herrimacy on racial affiliation, the language also prohibits guerrilla mandering.
“I think our dispute could very well lead to Florida’s redeployment amendments not in line with the 14th Amendment’s equal protection provision,” the governor said. said in March.
“This is a dismantling of our rule of law,” said Cecil Skun, president of the Florida Women’s Electoral League, which filed the lawsuit, challenging the cards on Friday.
“If each of us just said,‘ I don’t agree, I’m going to do the exact opposite of this law, ’I don’t know how we can run government and manage change legally, which we do. Americans are famous. “