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U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Jacksonville
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Dec. 24, 201412:00 PM EST

NAACP pushing Supreme Court to keep Corrine Brown'ss congressional district

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The Florida NAACP has urged the state Supreme Court to uphold a disputed congressional district that stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando and is designed to help elect black representatives.

The district, held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., has been a key issue in a long-running legal battle about whether Florida lawmakers violated an anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment when drawing new congressional lines.

A Leon County circuit judge this summer sided with groups such as the League of Women Voters of Florida in finding that a congressional map drawn by state lawmakers in 2012 was unconstitutional.

The Legislature then held a special session and made changes to the map, but the revised version also has spurred a legal challenge that is pending at the Supreme Court. While the district held by Brown — known as Congressional District 5 — was altered during the special session, it continues to stretch from Jacksonville to Orlando.

In a brief, the NAACP said maintaining the district is necessary to help black voters get representation.

“The Florida NAACP’s involvement in the instant litigation was triggered by an attack on a district — Congressional District 5 — that was the result of its advocacy to remedy the decades of political exclusion that black voters in North-Central Florida faced,” the brief said. “The district is necessary still today to ensure that its members in the region are afforded representation of their choice.”

But in a brief filed last month, groups opposed to the map criticized District 5, which they said was designed in part to help Republicans in surrounding areas by packing Democratic voters into one district.

“Revised District 5 remains a bizarrely shaped, grossly non-compliant district that both benefits the Republican Party by leaching Democrats from surrounding areas and marginalizes minorities by denying them an additional opportunity district in Central Florida,’’ the brief said. “The court should eliminate this relic of an era in which partisanship gerrymandering plagued the redistricting process.”

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