MIAMI – Today, the United States Supreme Court voted to allow a racially gerrymandered map from the Miami City Commission to go into effect, choosing not to disturb a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The City's new map will be used during the election this November.
On July 30, the Southern District of Florida issued an order requiring the city to adopt a fair map submitted by the plaintiffs instead of the map designed by the Miami City’s Commission, because the latter was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander that divided neighborhoods along racial lines, packed Black and Hispanic voters into specific districts, and undermined fair representation.
An alternative and equitable map was created by Grove Rights and Community Equity (GRACE), Engage Miami, the South Dade and Miami-Dade NAACP Branches, individual plaintiffs, the ACLU of Florida, and Dechert LLP. The Eleventh Circuit rejected the district court’s original ruling on the grounds that adopting this different map came too close to an election.
Following the ruling, civil rights groups responded with the following:
Carrie McNamara, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida:
“This decision by the Supreme Court is disheartening and a blow to the residents of Miami and our democracy. Unfortunately, that Court has chosen to temporarily permit blatantly gerrymandered maps that divide our communities along racial lines, compromising our right to fair representation. This decision has taken us a step back, stripping Miami residents of their voice and ability to be adequately represented, regardless of their race.
“Even so, the fight is not over. While we are disappointed in this decision, it only impacts the November 2023 municipal election. We look forward to proving our case at trial in January so that Miamians will be able to live in fair districts starting in 2025. Communities across Miami have worked tirelessly to make their voices heard, and we won’t stop now.”
Yanelis Valdes, director of advocacy and organizing for Engage Miami:
“We are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision to move forward with a racially gerrymandered map in the City of Miami that splits our communities across arbitrary lines and dilutes our political power and right to fair representation in the November election. This is a larger battle that we will continue to fight as the case goes to a full trial and beyond. We will be on the right side of history as we continue to push for a democracy that works for all of us because it is our fundamental right.”
Daniella Pierre, president of the NAACP Miami-Dade Branch:
"The Court’s ruling is extremely disappointing and disheartening. This decision takes the power and voices away from the residents of Miami. Fair and equal representation is a right, and our communities should be electing who represents them. Elected officials should not be choosing their constituents. This decision will not stop us from ensuring that all Miamians have their voices heard, including Black and Hispanic communities who were specifically targeted by the racially gerrymandered map.”
Carolyn Donaldson, board member at Grove Rights and Community Equity Inc. (GRACE):
“We are disheartened by the Court’s decision. Communities across Miami have worked tirelessly to ensure everyone has fair representation in our city. However, we will not stop fighting and will continue to make Miami voters’ voices heard through our trial in the district court. This decision makes it even more apparent that additional districts are needed and the next path to balance representation and protect neighborhoods.”