Florida Justices Hear Arguments in Redistricting Case

Sep 16, 2013

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments Monday about the state’s redrawn legislative and congressional districts finalized last year. Justices are considering whether state legislators can be deposed and questioned about the redistricting process. A lower court ruled they can.

But the state Constitution gives lawmakers the ability to avoid being questioned. It’s called legislative privilege. Attorney Sandy D’Alemberte argued that no questions should be off limits.

“We are certainly entitled to inquire into how the plans were developed, how they were drawn to use the Constitutional word”, D’Alemberte said.

The League of Women Voters of Florida claims lawmakers drew the new political boundaries to dilute the minority vote. Attorney Raoul Cantero argued on behalf of the state that unrestricted depositions sought by the league are too broad.

“It’s going to be an hours long deposition, we don’t even know how many they’re going to deposed, we don’t know which questions are going to be determined to be subjective, which are going to be determined to be objective", Cantero said. "And just the fact that that’s going to happen is now going to have a chilling effect in the legislature.”

Justices didn’t give any indication when they will rule.

Florida redraws political districts every ten years to accommodate changes in population.