Fair Districts: the first trial phase … by gimleteye
The following note is from Fair Districts. This court case, detailing maneuvering by Republican political operatives and top elected officials to thwart the will of the people -- expressed through a constitutional amendment requiring fairly drawn Congressional districts -- is the most important in a generation. If you believe there is something rotten in the heart of Florida, you have to look no further than this court case to understand how it happens and who is responsible.
Now concluding in a Tallahassee courtroom, the battle to draw fair political districts is also consuming an incredible amount of money. The Republican legislature has dedicated at least $20 million in taxpayer moneys to defend its leaders, alleged to have illegally drawn district maps in collusion and against the will of the people and the law. Fair Districts needs to raise its money from contributors like you and me. Its lead organizer, Miami attorney Ellen Freiden, is a hero.
The stakes are that important. Here is the recent note from Ellen Freiden, Fair Districts:
"After twelve days of intense testimony, the redistricting trial will come to a close tomorrow. One last witness will testify at 9:30 am and closing arguments will follow. You might want to tune in or watch the proceedings at http://www.TheFloridaChannel.org. There you can also find archived video of the other trial days.
In these 12 days we have learned about:
·Legislative staffers meeting with professional partisans to plan how the partisans could be involved in redistricting without anyone knowing.
·A deputy chief of staff for Speaker Cannon sharing draft maps with a political operative giving him the opportunity to make changes and comments.
·Various operatives being paid by the Republican Party for redistricting services.
·Legislators and staff destroying documents.
·Operatives destroying documents.
·Political consultants secretly drawing maps and then having them submitted to the legislature by citizens who were allegedly “interested in the process”.
·One “interested citizen” testifying that he did not draw a map and did not submit the map that was filed on the public website in his name. (See Article below).
·Districts from the “citizen” (really operative) maps are identical to districts in the final map.
·Experts testifying that the 2012 Florida Congressional map is the most biased map they have ever seen and that it would be statistically impossible for this bias to be a coincidence.
·High ranking Republican Party officials in Washington and Tallahassee vetting and modifying maps before they are released!
After tomorrow, the parties will submit written papers to Judge Lewis and he will rule on whether the Congressional map is unconstitutional. If he finds it unconstitutional, there will be further proceedings to decide on a new map. No matter what, the loser is expected to appeal. It is too early to predict the timing of all this.
I want to extend my greatest thanks for your strong support during this trial and throughout our mutual effort to attain fairly drawn voting districts for Florida.