Sunday, December 29, 2013

Any Honest Republican Legislators in Florida?

This odd little story may tell us a whole lot about how honest Republicans want to be about choosing their voters and gerrymandering their districts in court. Of course they're protecting their seats, but the excuses for doing so under the guise of "shifting population growth" should be a real side show in court:
9:56 AM PT: FL Redistricting: In a major procedural victory for opponents of Florida's new congressional map, the state Supreme Court ruled that legislators and their staffers can be required to testify about whether they drew the new lines with improper partisan intent. Amendments to the state constitution passed in 2010 now forbid the legislature from creating maps "with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent," but plaintiffs charge that lawmakers did exactly that.
Chilling effect...on What? Isn't it funny how open government always seems to have a chilling effect on speech? It's always been an absurd notion:
In response, elected officials invoked the notion of "legislative privilege," saying that they could not be forced to give testimony about their activities as legislators because it would have a "chilling effect" on how they carry out their jobs. 
The state Supreme Court just laughed:
Ordinarily that argument might work, but the court said that this "chilling effect" with regard to redistricting was, in fact, "the precise purpose" of the new amendments. (You can read the full opinion here.) So barring a settlement of some kind, it seems likely that Republican legislators will soon have to give depositions about how this particular piece of cartographic sausage was made.
You gotta love it.

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