Saturday, July 11, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

"Smackdown for hyper-partisan Legislature"

The Tampa Tribune editors: "All of the secrecy and back-room dealing that marked the state Legislature’s sordid redistricting process has come undone with a Florida Supreme Court ruling Thursday."

And rightfully so. In a 5-2 decision, the court found the Legislature’s redistricting process in 2012, and the resulting congressional boundaries, were “tainted by unconstitutional intent to favor the Republican Party and incumbents.”
"Supreme Court redistricting ruling a smackdown for hyper-partisan Legislature."

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Lawmakers must heed Fair District obligations."

Map Talk

"In wake of historic redistricting decision, here are maps! maps! maps! detailing the possible changes."

Hyper-partisan Argumentum ad hominem from the Court

The usually partisan Tampa Tribune editorial board acknowledges the "hyper-partisan" conduct of the Florida Ledislature in the "sordid" redistricting process. Equally sordid was the tone of the Republican dissent in the redistricting decision:

A reader of Justice Canady’s dissent in isolation could be forgiven for believing that this Court’s decision here amounts to a creative maneuver designed to overstep its proper bounds, done in order to usurp the Legislature’s role in the redistricting process. The dissent’s attacks on this Court’s analysis are extravagant, even when measured against prior dissenting opinions in our recent redistricting cases that have accused this Court of devising “a radical alteration in the operation of the separation of powers.” Apportionment IV, 132 So. 3d at 160 (Canady, J., dissenting). The barrage of epithets employed by the dissent includes the following colorful array: “fallacious”; “fabricated”; “extreme distortion”; “revolutionary deformation”; “teeming with judicial overreaching”; “creatively cobbled”; “aggressive invasion”; “aberrant decision”; and “unprecedented incursions.”20 Dissenting op. at 110, 111, 112, 117, 127.

20. Perhaps we should take solace in not being accused of “jiggery-pokery.” See King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, 2015 WL 2473448, at *19 (U.S. June 25, 2015) (Scalia, J., dissenting).

"'Jiggery-Pokery' in Today’s Florida Supreme Court Redistricting Opinion." See also "Canady Dissent in Redistricting Case Shows Stark Divide in Florida Supreme Court."

"A batting-practice fast ball right in Charlie's wheelhouse"

Nancy Smith: "Democrats think the Florida Supreme Court finally handed Charlie Crist a race he can win."

Certainly the court's decision Thursday pitches the District 13 seat straight down the middle for Charlie. It's an 83-mile-per-hour batting-practice fast ball right in Charlie's wheelhouse, unless the Legislature can come up with a palatable answer.

But for now it looks like the always-candidate-wannabe might find the third time lucky, running against incumbent Republian Congressman David Jolly in a redrawn district that probably will provide enough Democrats to choke a horse.

The court's majority opinion was that Congressman David Jolly's District 13 and Congresswoman Kathy Castor's District 14 must be redrawn to avoid crossing Tampa Bay. It looks right now as if District 13 is going to get the whole of blue St. Petersburg. And St. Pete is Charlie's hometown. He lives there, he's comfortable there, he's a household word there.

(The court ordered eight of the state’s 27 congressional districts redrawn, saying the configuration of each violated the 2010 Fair Districts constitutional amendment to stop gerrymandering.)

John Morgan thinks prospects look good for his longtime friend. Florida's best known personal injury attorney and Crist's employer and political benefactor told Politico on Thursday, "The seat would be tailor-made for Charlie. I haven’t spoken to Charlie about this ruling, but I would say it’s far more likely than not he would run for the seat if the seat came to him. The math is there.”

True, right now 13 looks like a lucky number for a Democrat, unlucky for incumbent Republican David Jolly.

"Rest Assured, Florida, Charlie Crist IS Running."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: Court and Grayson Spice up Summer Week."

Florida leads the nation in the number of exiles

"Florida is no stranger to out-of-towners as anyone can see when the state’s population swells each winter. But the state also leads the nation in the number of people moving here after fleeing war-torn or politically unstable countries around the world." "Florida, Tampa Bay area a magnet for refugees."

The next 100 days

"With options limited, legislators remain silent about redistricting plans."

"A Billion-Dollar Force"

"Jeb Bush, laying claim to some of the nation's wealthiest donors, has to be scaring the pants off other candidates, red and blue, in the 2016 presidential race." "Jeb Bush 'on Track to Be a Billion-Dollar Force' in Election 2016."

This is why the next Gubernatorial election is critical to FlaDems

"Three of the justices of Thursday's majority ordering the redrawing of the legislative maps (Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince) have a history of controversial rulings in elections cases."

All three justices were appointed by former Democratic Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles and each faces mandatory retirement in 2019.
"Canady Dissent in Redistricting Case Shows Stark Divide in Florida Supreme Court."

Will FlaGOP appeal redistricting smackdown?

"Will GOP-led Legislature appeal gerrymandering case?" Related: Democrat "Rep. Brown is Likely to Sue Over FL Redistricting."