September 16, 2013

Redistricting spotlight puts lawmakers on legal spot

Florida’s Supreme Court justices engaged in a vigorous dialogue with lawyers Monday as they were asked to rule on a precedent-setting question: Should state lawmakers and their staffs be forced to answer questions and turn over documents about the redistricting process? The Legislature argues it has turned over more than 30,000 documents in the legal challenges to the state Senate and congressional maps, and separation of powers in the state and federal Constitutions shield them from questioning about the legislative decision-making process, known as legislative privilege. Opponents, led by the League of Women Voters and a group of individual voters, say redistricting amendments approved by voters in 2010 trump the claim legislators cannot be asked why they drew the maps the way they did.

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