Gov. Ron DeSantis Photo by Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

By Jessica Washington

TALLHASSEE, FL — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ war on Black political power appears to have hit a snag. On Saturday, a Circuit Court judge ruled that Florida’s redistricting plan violated the rights of Black voters as outlined in the state’s constitution.

“The enacted plan results in the diminishment of Black voters’ ability to elect their candidate of choice in violation of the Florida Constitution, wrote Circuit Court Judge J. Lee Marsh.

The decision means that the map will get sent back to the Florida legislature with instructions on how to draw a map that complies with Florida’s constitution.

The decision is a blow to DeSantis, who was extensively involved in the state’s redistricting plan. The map heavily gerrymandered Black districts to reduce the political power of Black voters through a strategy of “cracking” and “packing.” The Root wrote about the litigation against the map and DeSantis’ political strategy back in April:

In a lawsuit, the Florida GOP was accused of using a two-pronged disenfranchisement strategy known as “cracking” and “packing” in predominantly Black districts. To simplify it a little, “cracking” refers to splitting a minority group amongst new districts to dilute their political power. So, for example, the new map split Black voters in Jacksonville into two different maps, diminishing their ability to pick a candidate. “Packing” is the opposite strategy. Essentially, you “pack” as many minority voters into one or two districts so you can limit the number of seats the group can get in Congress.

The redistricting map is only one part of broader set of policies targeting Black voters — including the Governor’s “election cops.” However, at least in the case of the voting map, it’s possible some of the efforts used to target Black voters could get rolled back.