DeSantis Phony Constitution
Post # 216, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
"Well, he is just going to veto it anyway, so let's save some time and let him do it (draw the Florida Reapportionment Map, in violation of the Constitution)."
A statement allegedly made by a Florida Legislative Leader
Those of us who had the honor of serving our state in public office are mindful of the importance of the Florida Constitution. We are taught at the outset of our public service that the Constitution is our roadmap for lawmaking. It spells out clearly the roles of the three branches of our government:
Legislative: Make the Laws.
Judiciary: Interrupt the Laws.
Executive: Implement the Laws.
The framers of the Federal and State Constitution were insistent that the three branches of government were separate but equal. Over the years members of the three branches have been accused of breaking this sacrosanct principle. Members of the court have been accused of making law in their rulings because they apparently feel the constitution is a living document that has to be updated for timely relevance. Members of the executive branch have been accused of making laws when promulgating the rules to implement the laws passed by the legislature. We all know of the temptation of Presidents and Governors to issue E.O.'s or Executive Orders, which they often intend to be laws, without any involvement of actual law makers.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is riding a political high right now. His election was largely attributed to the endorsement of then President Donald Trump. He has selectively picked out positions and stands that are well received by the Trump base like ignoring government directives that some people don't like and attacking bi-partisanship at every turn. Although a "back bencher" in Congress, his polls have driven him to one step behind Trump for the Republican nomination for President in 2024.
Perhaps this meteoric rise in GOP highest circles is why DeSantis is encroaching on clearly violating the separate and equal principle described above. Creating the reapportionment map is done every 10 years for the Legislature and Congressional seats per our Constitution. The basis of the map is the census completed just prior to reapportionment. Most of us remember Trump's clandestine effort to manipulate the 2020 census, and now we can see why that was so important.
This year the 2022 Legislature studied the census, heard from the public and both political parties, and crafted what they said was a non-partisan map. The League of Women Voters and other allegedly independent organizations reviewed the map drafted by the Legislature for integrity. The Legislature passed the reapportionment law and sent it to the Governor for signing. Largely unheard of, this Governor had decided to craft a reapportionment map favored by himself. He particularly targeted Congressional districts where minorities were the majority. DeSantis and the GOP had lost these districts to Democrats by substantial numbers in the past.
Fast forward to today. Not only is DeSantis violating the separate but equal principle of our Constitution, but now our presiding officers in the Legislature are waiving their duties and responsibilities to draw the maps, and transferring that exclusive legislative power to DeSantis. All three are treating this important document as a phony Constitution. One of the presiding officers, not known for a candidate for "Profiles in Courage," allegedly said, "Well he is just going to veto it anyway, so why don't we save some work and just let him do it." Words almost can't describe what this cowardice does to the work of our Constitution framers.
This writer would welcome multiple resignations by the governor and both legislative leaders for abdicating their solemn duty to represent the people in a separate and equal branches of our government, pursuant to the Florida Constituion.