The 2024 battle for the House remains a game of inches, and this past week Democrats got two more jolts of good legal news that move them closer to flipping a seat each in Florida and Alabama, potentially offsetting anticipated losses from a Republican redraw of North Carolina.
In Florida, Leon County Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh struck down the North Florida portion of the map Gov. Ron DeSantis strong-armed into law in 2022, ruling that its dismantlement of the old Black-plurality, Jacksonville-to-Tallahassee 5th District violated the state's Fair Districts constitutional amendment. The ruling is especially significant because Marsh isn't a liberal activist jurist; he's an appointee of former GOP Gov. Rick Scott.
The Florida case is unique because it involves state law, not the Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the recent Allen v. Milligan Supreme Court ruling. Florida's Fair Districts law, passed by voters in 2010, prohibits drawing maps with the "intent or result" to "diminish [racial minorities'] ability to elect representatives of their choice." And the ruling came about after the plaintiffs, a coalition of Democrats
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