Judge: GOP Conspired to ‘Manipulate’ Redistricting in Fla.

Judge Terry P. Lewis of Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit slammed Republicans for their part in the redrawing of districts, saying that the party did so to favor its cause. 

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Judge Terry Lewis listening to arguments in Tallahassee, Fla., Dec. 8, 2000.

COLIN HACKLEY-TAMPA TRIBUNE/AFP/Getty Images

A Florida judge has tossed the state’s congressional map, ordering two districts to be redrawn, in a move that may affect neighboring districts and strongly impact Republican influence, the New York Times reports.

In his scathing decision late Thursday, Judge Terry P. Lewis of the state’s 2nd Judicial Circuit demanded that two of Florida’s districts be redrawn: the 10th, represented by Republican Rep. Daniel Webster, and the 5th, represented by Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown.

Lewis blasted Republicans for making “a mockery” and taking advantage of Florida’s Fair Districts Amendments, passed in 2010. 

“Republican political consultants or operatives did, in fact, conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process,” the judge wrote in his 41-page decision, according to Politico.

“They made a mockery of the legislature’s proclaimed transparency and open process of redistricting by doing all of this in the shadow of that process, utilizing the access it gave them to the decisionmakers, but going to great lengths to conceal from the public their plan and their participation in it.”

According to the Times, Florida is likely to appeal, and the chances that the decision will have a telling impact on Florida’s elections this year is slim. However, if Lewis’ ruling is not overturned, it could affect the 2016 elections.

Lewis’ decision was prompted by a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters, among others, that accused Republicans of tampering with the districts in order to get an edge for their candidates, the Times reports.

Read more at the New York Times.