United States – Some progressive civic groups have taken legal action alleging that four congressional districts and seven state House districts in South Florida were drawn in a racially discriminatory manner by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature by discriminating against Hispanics who are a diverse group in Florida and are not classified as an endangered group.

They sued on Thursday, claiming that the contemplated districts are unconstitutional and seeking an injunction against using them to hold elections from a federal court in South Florida. The Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd were included in the lawsuit as defendants, as reported by Associated Press.

A message seeking comment was also left through a call made on Saturday at the Secretary of State’s office.

The Supreme Court ruling states that race can be taken into account during the redistricting if certain standards, including Shelby County’s Integral Unit and Poling Population, are met.

Critique of Districting Practices

However, the Florida Legislature has it wrong by assuming that South Florida’s Hispanic voters are solid when this scenario is no longer true, going by the fact that the white majority in Florida always casts its vote in unison with the Hispanics in South Florida as deeply pointed out the lawsuit.

“Rather, it is nuanced, multifaceted, and diverse with respect to political behavior and preferences,” the lawsuit said of South Florida’s Hispanic community. “The Legislature was not entitled to draw race-based districts based on uninformed assumptions of racial sameness.”

Rather, minority communities of interest that should reside in the city of Miami or in Collier County, where Naples is located, were split when the districts were created, the lawsuit states.

It must also be noted that the voting-age population of Miami-Dade County, where the targeted districts are located, is more than two-thirds Hispanic.

Specific Districts Challenged

“In drawing these districts, the Florida Legislature subordinated traditional redistricting criteria and state constitutional requirements to race without narrowly tailoring the district lines to advance a compelling government interest,” the lawsuit said.

The current congressional districts under consideration—19, 26, 27, and 28—start in the Fort Myers neighborhood on the Gulf Coast and span the entire state of Florida to Miami and the Florida Keys. The seven House districts under consideration are the 112nd, 113rd, 114th, 115th, 116th, 118th, and 119th districts, and they are all situated in Miami.

All the districts that are currently being represented are represented by Republicans.

Allegations of Violations in District Drawing

As described, the districts appear to breach common standards of acceptable district drawing such that it would preserve existing communities, density and ensuring that districts do not sprawl into other unrelated zones, according to the lawsuit, as reported by Associated Press.