Court rules Ken Detzner to remain as defendant in Corrine Brown case

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  • | 12:00 p.m. January 15, 2016
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A federal court this week rejected arguments by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner that he should be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown challenging a new congressional redistricting plan.

After the Florida Supreme Court approved the redistricting plan last month, Brown and other plaintiffs filed an updated lawsuit that named as defendants Detzner, the Florida House and the Florida Senate.

Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat whose district would be substantially changed, argues the new map violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

In documents filed in federal court, Detzner has contended he should not be a party to the lawsuit, as his election-administration role as secretary of state is not related to the redistricting issue.

In a document filed this week, for example, Detzner’s attorneys wrote that the secretary of state “does not enforce or implement congressional districts.”

But a panel of three U.S. district judges assigned to hear the lawsuit rejected Detzner’s argument Wednesday.

The decision said, in part, that Brown is “not suing Detzner merely because he sits nominally at the top of an agency far removed from any challenged conduct.”

She is challenging the implementation and enforcement of congressional districts allegedly drawn in violation of federal law.

As secretary of state, Detzner is connected to and responsible for many aspects of elections in Florida, including maintaining uniformity in the interpretation and implementation of Florida’s election laws.”

Also this week, the court released a schedule that said oral arguments in the case, if needed, would be presented March 25.



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