Republicans "made a mockery" of recent Florida constitutional amendments requiring lawmakers to draw fair political districts, a state judge ruled yesterday, ordering that two particularly egregious districts be redrawn—and with them, probably all districts that touch them. "Republican political consultants or operatives did, in fact, conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process," Judge Terry P. Lewis wrote in a scathing 41-page ruling. He noted that lawmakers had destroyed a suspicious number of documents related to the redistricting process, and even quoted George Washington's admonition to beware "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men," the New York Times reports.
Florida voted in 2010 in favor of two amendments requiring districts to be drawn in an impartial, non-partisan fashion. The judge ruled that the GOP-controlled legislature failed to do that. Republicans currently hold 17 of Florida's House seats to the Democrats' 10, even though Democrats have an edge in overall voter registration. The judge didn't specify if the districts have to be redrawn by this year's midterms, Politico points out, and the state is likely to appeal. "Everyone in Florida is holding their breath," one redistricting consultant said, predicting that the changes would ultimately wait until 2016.