Judge says he'll block Gov. Ron DeSantis' redistricting plan

Judge Layne Smith says he'll rule in favor of voting rights groups
Gov. Ron DeSantis, May 9, 2022
Posted at 2:23 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 15:47:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A state judge has ruled that a congressional map approved by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and drawn by his staff is unconstitutional because it breaks up a district where Black voters can choose their representatives.

Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith said Wednesday that he will issue a formal order Thursday or Friday to keep the maps from taking effect in November's election.

Smith made it clear he would rule in favor of voting rights groups challenging the maps.

"It's important that we get this to the next step so that this can be decided as quickly as possible so that, whatever the answer is, finally, ultimately, there is time for the administrators to put into action what needs to be done to make it happen," Smith said.

The state is expected to appeal immediately, sending the case to the First District Court of Appeal and likely triggering an automatic pause of the judge’s order.

The governor's office released the following statement on the ruling:

"As Judge Smith implied, these complex constitutional matters of law were always going to be decided at the appellate level. We will undoubtedly be appealing his ruling and are confident the constitutional map enacted by the Florida legislature and signed into law passes legal muster. We look forward to defending it."