Florida’s battle over congressional redistricting looks likely to be played out in the courts — not before state lawmakers — after House Speaker Steve Crisafulli rejected the Senate’s latest bid for another special session.
In a letter sent Tuesday to House members, Crisafulli said chances for reaching agreement with the Senate by a Sept. 25 deadline set by a court fell somewhere between slim and none.
Instead, Crisafulli said the House will argue before a Leon County circuit judge that the map it prepared in August’s failed special session is what should be recommended to the state Supreme Court, which will get a final look at the best way to draw the state’s 27 congressional districts.
Crisafulli’s letter follows Friday’s ruling by the Florida Supreme Court that Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis should hold a hearing to review maps advanced by the House, Senate and others and pass on a recommendation.
Like Senate President Andy Gardiner, justices also held out the possibility of the Legislture reconvening. But Crisafulli’s letter apparently puts an end to such speculation.
The uproar over House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speaking to a David Duke-founded group in 2002 sprang from a 12-year-old post on Stormfront, a “white nationalist” website that’s run by West Palm Beach resident and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Don Black.
As a liberal Louisiana politics blogger noted Sunday, a Stormfront contributor named Alsace Hebertposted an account in May 2002 of a European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) conference in the New Orleans area and mentioned that Scalise, at the time a state legislator, was one of the speakers.
EURO was founded by Duke, the former Klan leader and Louisiana legislator who is a friend of Black.
Scalise told the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday that he spoke to many groups in 2002 in opposition to a tax proposal. He said he didn’t know EURO is a white nationalist group and wasn’t aware of its association with Duke.
“I didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group…Everyone knew who he (Duke) was. I would not go to any group he was a part of,” Scalise said.
Black weighed in on the Scalise matter Monday night on Stormfront.
“Nothing ever dies on the Internet!” Black wrote. “Now this obscure, old thread, by our long departed friend Alsace, makes the legacy news media (formerly called the mainstream news).”
Black continued: “I remember that conference well. Hard to believe it’s been over twelve years. I won’t comment on Scalise. But I will note the absolute hypocrisy of the anti-White establishment…Politicians grovel before African-American, Latino and Jewish groups, which openly promote their racial interests. But they are conditioned to run like scared rabbits at the very idea European-Americans have rights.”
Black told The Palm Beach Post in a 2013 interview that white nationalists are not white supremacists. He said supremacists favor segregation while nationalists are “separatists. … We hope to one day achieve our own country with our own borders with a government reflecting our interests.”