Home Virginia Politics Virginia’s Racially Gerrymandered Congressional 3rd District Struck Down by District Court!

Virginia’s Racially Gerrymandered Congressional 3rd District Struck Down by District Court!

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The reason I’d say this tweet by Marc Elias is credible is that Elias is the attorney “for the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, represent[ing] two Virginia voters in a lawsuit that accuses the General Assembly of ‘racial gerrymandering’ by improperly packing African-Americans into the state’s only black-majority congressional district to make adjacent districts safer for GOP incumbents.” If true, this is potentially excellent news, but stay tuned for more news from the Eastern District Court of Virginia.

UPDATE 3:51 pm: RTD reporter Graham Moomaw tweets:  “Court opinion on 3rd Congressional District: ‘constitutional rights have been injured by improper racial gerrymandering’.” Also: “Racial gerrymandering, even for remedial purposes, may balkanize us into competing racial factions” and “…it threatens to carry us further from the goal of a political system in which race no longer matters.”

UPDATE 3:58 pm: Here’s a link to the decision. Also see BREAKING: Federal Court Strikes Down One Of The Most Aggressive Gerrymanders In The Country.

UPDATE 4:02 pm: Apparently, all three judges (Liam O’Grady, Allison Kay Duncan and Robert E. Payne) were Republican appointees. The George HW Bush appointee (Payne) dissented, but the other two judges (O’Grady and Duncan) – both George W. Bush appointtes – held that “the maps that produced this result are unconstitutional and the legislature must ‘act within the next legislative session to draw a new congressional district plan.'”

UPDATE 4:06 pm: The Richmond Times Dispatch is up with its story, which notes, “Changes to the 3rd will trigger revisions elsewhere, possibly jeopardizing the GOP’s 8-3 advantage in the state’s House delegation.” Good!

UPDATE 4:29 pm:  ‏@KentonNgo tweets, “Note that judge ruling forces the VA maps back to General Assembly. Post-Puckett, the only hope for Dems is McAuliffe vetoes EVERYTHING.” Which he should. I also agree with Kenton on the following:

“Only reason McAuliffe would play ball and sign is flimsy incumbent protection. Literally any court map is better” and “Forbes retirement is most geographically convenient, of course”

  • FreeDem

    Let’s see if Governor McAuliffe is willing to put his pen where his mouth is by telling the state legislature that he will veto any plan that is not independent and fair. I’m not just talking about a veto to any Republican gerrymandering, I’m also talking about any backroom deal worked out between the establishment Democrats and Republicans. Let’s make this process open and accountable to the public. I’d rather have judges redraw the lines in late 2015 and whatever risk that entails than see another inside scheme to protect the powerful.

    An independent plan is the best way to promote goals such as more competitive districts, increased accountability of politicians, and more diversity in our Congressional delegation.  

  • “Today’s ruling demonstrates the need to get partisan politics out of how Virginia draws its legislative boundaries.

    “The court’s order to redraw our congressional map is an opportunity to emerge with a map that reflects the best interests of Virginia families, not the political interests of the people drawing the lines.

    “I hope my friends in the General Assembly will join me in taking this opportunity to draw districts that are more compact, contiguous, and reflective of the shared interests that unite many of our communities.”

  • The Democratic Part of Virginia today issued the following statement from Robert Dempsey, Executive Director:

    “The Democratic Party of Virginia applauds the decision of the Eastern District Court to demand a fair, nonpartisan map for Virginia’s Congressional districts. The fundamental American right to fair and equal representation should never be diluted by political meddling. General Assembly Republicans should hear the Court’s message loud and clear and produce a nonpartisan Congressional map with Virginia citizens in mind, not politics. Speaker Howell and Leader Norment need to do what’s best for the Commonwealth and produce more compact districts that ensure all Virginians have the representation they deserve.”

  • runbmc

    So as I understand it the whole reason they’re doing this to break up the 3rd district and making the 4th a lot bluer. So my question is what happens then? Who will look for a promotion? Del. Rosalyn Dance has been looking to move up forever but she’s currently in the middle of doing that with her State Senate run. So who else is looking at this? Senator Don McEachin, Senator Alexander, Del. Roz Tyler, Mayor Sherman Saunders of Danville and Mayor Brian Moore of Petersburg? Anyone