A Florida judge said Wednesday he will reject a congressional map backed by Gov. Ron Desantis (R-Fla.), arguing the map violated the state constitution by disbanding a district with a large Black population—the latest state-level redistricting battle this year.
During a hearing, Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith—who was appointed by DeSantis two years ago—said he will issue an injunction later this week blocking part of the redistricting map, siding with voting groups that sued state officials.
Smith said the new map runs afoul of the Florida constitution’s Fair Districts Amendments because it dismantles northern Florida’s 5th congressional district, where Black residents make up more than 40% of the population, a move that “diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect the representative of their choice.”
The judge said he won’t order the state legislature to return to session to devise a new map, and instead will probably enact one of the maps that was previously passed by lawmakers but rejected by DeSantis, the Associated Press notes.
State officials have argued the long, narrow congressional district—which is represented by Rep. Al Lawson (D)—was redrawn because it is not especially compact, stretching more than 150 miles from Jacksonville to Tallahassee.