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A lawsuit over Florida's congressional redistricting plan gets a federal hearing next month

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A panel of three federal judges will consider procedural issues April 4 in a lawsuit seeking a court-drawn congressional redistricting plan for Florida.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor issued an order Thursday scheduling a case-management conference. Last week, William Pryor, chief judge of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, designated Winsor, U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers and appellate Judge Adalberto Jordan to weigh the case.

The groups Common Cause Florida and FairDistricts Now and voters in Leon, Gadsden, Orange, Lee and Miami-Dade counties filed the lawsuit March 11, contending that a court needs to set new congressional districts. The lawsuit came as Gov. Ron DeSantis vows to veto a plan approved by the Legislature as part of the once-a-decade reapportionment process.

The 25-page lawsuit points, in part, to a June deadline for candidates to qualify for congressional races. Winsor said in Thursday’s order that the April 4 conference will be used to address a series of procedural issues and requested that attorneys meet and submit a report by March 31 about their positions on the issues.

“The parties must also confer regarding potential experts for appointment to assist the court in preparing a map, if that becomes necessary,” Winsor wrote. “In their report, the parties must state whether they have agreed as to such individuals and, if not, each side may suggest one or more potential experts. By providing names, the parties are not conceding that appointment of any expert is appropriate or that the court will or should prepare a map.”

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