May 3, 2002
The Florida House of Representatives
Today, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the State of Florida held that House Joint Resolution 1987 (The House and Senate Legislative Apportionment Plan) was "valid" and thereby approved it as the 2002 apportionment of the Florida Legislature.
"We are extremely gratified by the Supreme Court's thoughtful analysis of the issues and its unanimous decision," said Speaker Tom Feeney.
The Supreme Court noted that the Joint Resolution, like any other act of the Legislature enjoys a presumption of validity. The opponents of the Legislative Plan made numerous arguments that have to date never been recognized in a court of law, including arguing that the Legislature had to conform with the opponents interpretation of "traditional redistricting principles" or "objective standards".
"We were guided by one overriding standard; compliance with the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the State of Florida . Today the Supreme Court held that we met that standard," said Speaker Designate Johnnie Byrd, Chairman of the Procedural and Redistricting Council.
Regarding the opponents' arguments on imposition of "traditional redistricting principles", the Court stated: "We find no merit to this claim." Similarly, the Court rejected the Attorney General's argument that the reapportionment plan should be held invalid and sent back to the Legislature noting that the suggested laundry list of "objective standards" are "not Constitutionally required."
"Reaching an expedited conclusion to this apportionment process in order to minimize voter disruption and confusion is a compelling state interest," said Speaker Feeney. "We are now eager to proceed with our defense of our valid and Constitutional plans before the Federal Courts and will continue to assist the Justice Department and provide whatever information necessary to perform an expedited pre-clearance analysis."