Monday, August 17, 2015

Still Waiting On The Death of the Florida Gerrymander

When last we left this drama, the state Supreme Court gave the Florida Legislature specific marching orders on redrawing the Congressional district maps that were clearly in violation of the state amendments a supermajority of state voters passed.

The deadline is fast approaching - September - because the districts need to be in place for the 2016 election cycle.

So what has the state legislature been doing about this?


Pretty much how John Romano is describing it for the Tampa Bay Times:

The interesting part of this saga is the utter lack of remorse, responsibility, shame or character exhibited by so many in the Florida Legislature. It is that apparent indifference to the normal rules of society that should really be turning heads.
So for those incurably truculent in Tallahassee, here is the reality of what happened:
You cheated.
You got caught.
And now you're pouting...
Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, had the temerity to argue it was the Court that was ignoring the Constitution. And, seemingly oblivious to the Legislature's demonstrated lack of trustworthiness, Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, is outraged that justices want all future map discussions held in public.
Here's what I wonder:
Why is it so inconceivable for anyone in Tallahassee to actually apologize to voters? To express regret that political consultants were quite obviously involved in drawing maps that, by law, are supposed to be apolitical? To acknowledge that their own power-hungry missteps are costing taxpayers money for yet another special session?...
The problem is that most lawmakers neither fear, nor respect, their constituents. Not so coincidentally, that attitude is at the heart of redistricting. Maps are drawn in such partisan ways that practically 90 percent of the Legislature is guaranteed re-election...

It doesn't look like the Florida Legislature is going to make the September deadline.  I'm willing to bet - just not a lot of money - that the legislators are going to force the courts to more drastic actions, trying to call their bluff (the old comment once quoted to Andrew Jackson: "Let's see them enforce it.")

Personally, I want the legislators to ignore the deadline.  I'm hoping that they will arrogantly ignore the will of the voters about the voters' desire to see the gerrymanders dead and gone.  I'm praying the courts issue contempt orders that put the legislators in jail in such a way that they can no longer serve in office, breaking their incumbency holds on "safe" seats that they do not honestly deserve.

Let's do this.  I'm game.  We'll see who rusts first.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

While I agree with you, I still wouldn't get my hopes too far up about it. It reminds me too much of California's budget law (after about five years of the state government flying by the seat of its pants because the lege couldn't stop squabbling long enough to pass a budget on time, they passed a law making it a crime for the state lege to fail to have a budget in place by the end of June. The very next year? The end of October, if I remember correctly, and nobody was ever charged with anything in the courts.)
But, hey, let's try it, it can't hurt? We passed an initiative in 2010 to draw our districts with an expert panel instead of the state lege, and I think the Democrats ended up losing a couple of seats over it, but I voted for it and still think it was the right thing to do. Good luck!

-Doug in Oakland