Gaze Upon Judge Ungaro’s Fair Districts Order!

I had the pleasure at lunch to catch the always intrepid Julie Kay on the airwaves today, on the publicly-funded radio station that has single-handedly brought America to her economic knees (you know, the same one that airs “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”).

Julie was informative and knowledgeable as always. But during the course of the discussion Jim DeFede made a good point — why is it that the Florida legislature is overwhelmingly Republican, often by lopsided majorities and populated with quite conservative lawmakers, yet in the Florida general elections (President, Senator etc.) the splits are more 50/50 and the majorities typically razor-thin?

Short answer: gerrymandering.

That’s a nice segue for Judge Ungaro’s order upholding on summary judgment the Fair Districts constitutional amendment, which starts off pretty old-school (as in The Framers old-school):

Both sides agree that the case turns on the Elections Clause, and both make passing references to the intent of the Framers. Yet absent in the briefs of both sides is any true attempt to analyze the origins of the Elections Clause. It is as if the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, the state ratification debates, and the First Congress lay somehow beyond the reach of these litigants.

The Judge then jumps into the old Constitutional Convention time machine, determines that Smiley Smiley was a pretty good Beach Boys album after all (read the order!), and concludes that Florida voters can pretty much screw around with their own Constitution however the hail they like. Have a great weekend!