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Florida Supreme Court Rejects Senate Redistricting, Special Session Required

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In an epic political fail for Senate Republicans, the Florida Supreme Court ruled this morning that recent redistricting efforts amount to illegal gerrymandering.

"We conclude that the challengers have demonstrated that the Senate plan... violates the constitutional requirements," Justice Barbara Pariente wrote in a 5-2 majority opinion. She argued that politicians drew the maps to preserve their grip on power and pack minorities into blocks. The same court approved the House's redistricting plan, however, meaning that legislators will have to meet again in a special session later this month to try again.

Two years ago, voters overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments 5 and 6. The amendments prohibited lawmakers from intentionally protecting incumbents or political parties; required them to preserve minority voting rights; and ordered them to keep districts as compact as possible.

In a concurring opinion, however, Justice E.C. Perry said Senate leaders had ignored voters. "By refusing any attempt to draw more compact districts while maintaining the required racial proportions, there is at least the appearance that the Senate thumbed its nose at the will of the people," he wrote.

We have to point out here that Riptide called this one.

Earlier this morning -- before the Supreme Court's decision became public -- we named the new maps as this year's worst legislative initiative.

Now it's only a matter of time until Pariente rules that Rick Scott's fleet of pastel-dyed bunny rabbits is an affront to animal rights.

Scott has five days to announce the special Congressional session.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

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