Florida Republicans try to secure new judicial nominees

By Jeannine Aversa, CNN

(CNN) – House Republicans made a last-ditch effort Friday to get Gov. Rick Scott a package of judicial nominees to fill judicial vacancies before his three-day veto deadline.

There’s no way to tell how long the action will affect the election calendar.

Scott on Friday vetoed the congressional redistricting plan approved by Florida lawmakers earlier this year and asked lawmakers to devise a new map that he would accept.

The Florida Supreme Court ultimately upheld the Legislature’s plan after reviewing the initial appeal by Scott. The plan was created after the state’s congressional redistricting commission failed to meet its deadline to reform the representation of African-Americans, an increase from 13 districts to 19.

Scott said his opposition to the congressional map “undermines the integrity of Florida’s elections process.”

He proposed the opening of a comprehensive third-party redistricting process that would include participation by the NAACP and some of the state’s minority political leaders.

The governor’s criticisms were echoed by Attorney General Pam Bondi, who issued her own complaints against the plan and demanded legislative committees rework it.

House leaders then put together a new plan to replace the congressional map, which would reduce the number of members from 27 to 25.

The Senate voted unanimously on Friday to approve that map, on the condition the House would approve the new plan before the current Congress adjourns after the Dec. 3 midterm election.

When the deadline to pass a new congressional map passes at 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, the ball will be in the court of House Speaker Richard Corcoran and other House leaders to see if they will try to force the vote.

If House leaders keep at it, they would have to override any governor’s veto. The Senate vote allows them to override Scott’s veto as a second option should the effort fail.

A final decision won’t be made for weeks. House Republicans are also continuing to discuss a final version of the Senate’s plan, which will probably include some changes to appease Scott.

“The governor wants to sit down with (the House) and try to resolve this,” said Brad Herold, a spokesman for House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

After Scott vetoed the congressional map, House Republicans scrapped an alternate Senate map that was approved to fix the state’s Senate situation. Under that plan, South Florida was to be split into more districts. The same divide has since been used to divide the state’s Hispanic population.

It remains unclear if Republicans have enough votes to override Scott.

“The election for a unified delegation is just two weeks away, and this debate has wasted considerable time in the process that could have been used to communicate with voters,” said Alison Aston, spokeswoman for the Florida Democratic Party.

The Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel reported that Scott vetoed two more judicial nominees Friday, raising to 11 the number of judicial nominees that Scott has blocked.

Scott named three judges to the 9th Circuit, which covers South Florida, on Friday.

Two of the nominees were members of the Judicial Nominating Commission that recommends judges to Scott. The third was a new nominee, according to the Associated Press.

He refused to pick that nominee for weeks, sparking protests.

The governor has yet to name nominees to two other Florida appellate courts.

Meanwhile, Democrats are working to pick up seats in the state. However, the polls have show the race to fill the seat vacated by Democrats Kyrsten Sinema’s victory to the US Senate, which means the most they can do is gain five seats.

CNN is continuing to follow the story, including a map of possible congressional races that could be affected. Check CNN’s political page for updates.

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