Gaetz Bucks GOP On Court, Fed Challenge May Be Brewing

Aug 18, 2015

The Florida Supreme Court is the target of some rather vitriolic criticism from state lawmakers, but one Republican says that anger is misplaced.  Another may be setting the stage for further litigation.

Among many conservatives in the Florida House, there’s no question the Supreme Court overstepped its authority by making explicit revision demands for the state’s congressional borders.  But Fort Walton Beach Rep. Matt Gaetz (R- Fort Walton Beach) echoes that saying about people who live in glass houses.

“So when you’ve got legislators confessing to unconstitutional conduct I don’t know that when we return to try to cure those deficiencies that that is the appropriate time to then be critical of another branch of government.”

Gaetz reiterated his chamber’s innocence and chastised the Senate for tinkering with the borders drawn by legislative staffers.  The House approved the base map Tuesday 76 - 35.

But even if the Senate agrees to approve the map, the matter appears far from settled.  

The current plan lowers the black voting age population or BVAP in District Five.  House Select Committee Chair Jose Oliva (R-Miami Lakes) seems to suggest that could be grounds for a federal Voting Rights Act challenge.

“Factually there is a diminishment in the BVAP.  That’s a fact,” Oliva says.

Section Two of the Voting Rights Act prohibits practices that diminish the ability of minority communities to elect a candidate of their choice.