ORLANDO, Fla. - In secret meetings, Florida lawmakers rigged the maps to help certain congressmen, according to a finding from a Leon County judge whose ruling may force the state to redraw four districts, including three in central Florida.
Investigative reporter Christopher Heath said the issue probably won't change anything for this year's election, but it's expected to head to the Supreme Court.
In 2010, Florida voters amended the state constitution to require fair districts, and right now it appears that's not what came out of Tallahassee when Republican lawmakers drew the maps, Heath said.
Democrat Corrine Brown's district snakes from Jacksonville to south Orlando, and Republican John Mica's Seminole County district seems to collect only specific neighborhoods.
A judge said both districts violate the state constitution.
"There was a conspiracy between the political operatives and legislators," said attorney David King, who argued the case in Tallahassee.
On Friday, King praised the judge's ruling, saying the case shows lawmakers intentionally drew the maps to create what are known as "safe districts," which are districts overloaded with republicans or democrats.
"The maps were indefensible, but they sure tried to defend them," he said.
"It should be the voters who select their legislators and not the legislators who select what voters are going to be in their district," said Michele Levy of the League of Women Voters.
Levy and the League have been fighting the issue for decades.
The League led the push in 2010 to rewrite the state constitution to require fair districts. They led the lawsuit against the state when lawmakers drew the maps in violation of state law.
Now, the state needs to redraw Brown's and Mica's district.
As a result, they'll also be forced to redraw Democrat Alan Grayson's district and Republican Daniel Ebster's district, since those districts border the now illegal congressional districts.