Project Wonderful

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Romo v. Detzner and Fair District Amendments

Good news, or at least bad news overturned! Last Thursday a Florida judge ruled that the congressional districts drawn by the Florida Legislature are illegal, due to partisan gerrymandering. The judge was able to do make this judgement thanks to the Fair District Amendments to Florida's constitution. What are Fair District Amendments you ask?

For decades politicians in Florida selfishly drew legislative and Congressional districts to protect themselves or advance the interests of their political parties. So effective and unabashed was this gerrymandering, that over the last decade only a small fraction of legislative incumbents were defeated.

On November 2, 2010, Floridians overwhelmingly spoke out against this self-serving practice by passing Amendments 5 and 6 – the FairDistricts Amendments -- with 63% of the vote. This vote resulted in constitutional provisions which prohibit favoritism of incumbents or parties in redistricting.

What a novel idea! Every state should have such a law. Awesomely enough, the League of Women Voters was the lead plaintiff in the case as well as the driving force behind the amendments.

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