A panel of federal judges on Monday rejected a motion [order, PDF] by Representative Corrine Brown [official profile] challenging the current congressional district boundaries in Florida. Brown has long argued that the current boundary system violates federal voting laws [AP report] by diminishing the rights of minorities. Brown also argued that her district now includes a dozen prisons, which alters the true number of eligible voters within the district. However, after examining the matter, the panel of judges found that Brown had not produced any evidence to prove her case. The current congressional districts were approved by the Florida Supreme Court [official website] in December. Any appeal by Brown would go directly to the US Supreme Court [official website].
Voting rights remain a controversial legal issue in the US. Last month the Supreme Court The heard oral arguments [JURIST report] regarding an election district plan for Virginia’s Third Congressional District. This district was altered in 2012 in a manner that increased the already majority-African American population, and the district court found the plan unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. In November the court heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in a challenge to the Three Judge Court Act, which requires the convening of a three-judge district court to decide certain important lawsuits such as those concerning voter redistricting. In June the court ruled [JURIST report] that the Elections Clause of the US Constitution permits the state of Arizona to adopt a commission to draw congressional districts. Last April the court threw out [JURIST report] a North Carolina court ruling that upheld Republican-drawn electoral districts for state and congressional lawmakers.