Fair District backers want Cannon to call off the lawyersby John Kennedy | September 14th, 2011
Days after a Miami judge ruled against a pair of Florida members of Congress, leaders of the so-called Fair Districts campaign Wednesday called on House Speaker Dean Cannon to abandon financing any further challenges to the voter-approved standard for drawing congressional district lines.
“We believe that it is time for the Florida Legislature to quit using taxpayer money to battle its own constituents,” Dan Gelber, a former Democratic state senator wrote on behalf of Fair Districts supporters. “Your efforts in this case are nothing more than an ill-advised attempt to obstruct a reform the people overwhelmingly supported.
“Surely, given the state’s economic challenges, there are better uses for taxpayer dollars,” Gelber concluded.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit by U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, and Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, who sought to have Amendment 6 declared unconstitutional. The House had intervened in the case, but Cannon insisted it was only because the Legislature would have to implement whatever ruling came out of the court.
Now that the court effectively ended the legal challenge, the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and other backers of the Fair Districts effort — mostly Democratic-allied organizations — said the Republican speaker ought to also call off the lawyers.
A Cannon spokeswoman, Katie Betta, said the speaker was still reviewing the judge’s order and hadn’t yet determined the House’s next step.